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We got word today that 2012 is going to be a record-breaking year for gas prices. With that in mind, a number of credit unions and community banks in 20 cities are giving away gas and information about how you can dump your big bank and take your business to a smaller alternative.

Among the banks participating are Money One Federal Credit Union, based in College Park, MD with operations across the D.C. region; Pioneer Bank, with branches across upstate New York; Hope Credit Union, which has locations in New Orleans, across Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas; and Incommons Bank with locations across Texas. Get a full list of participating banks on The Great Gas Giveaway Facebook page. And The Huffington Post has a list of the gas stations and sellers that are participating. The freebie caps at $20 worth of gas and is available to the first 200 drivers.

Now’s the time to take a closer look at your bank and determine whether another financial institution, even a smaller one, can better fill your needs. As HuffPo says, most people have turned to larger banks because they’re accessible and offer digital services. But big banks have come under fire for raising fees on many basic services, lowering the value of doing business with them. And in some cases, due to the economy, bank consolidation or other factors, they’re actually closing down branches. And some small banks can offer better deals (free checking, for example) for those looking for them.

So you could walk away with a new bank account and a full tank of gas.

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