Petrol station

10 ways to save on gas

For Canadian drivers, their car tends to be their second biggest monthly expense after rent or mortgage payments. In fact, if you include depreciation, owning a car costs the average Canadian between $8,600 and $13,000 a year. So, it's no surprise that car owners are looking for ways to save money whenever they can. Although gas prices are on the rise, you can adopt a few little habits that can seriously benefit your bank account and lower the cost of owning a car.

1.Drive Less

Although it might seem like a bit of a headache, it could be a wise decision to consider cutting down the amount of time you spend behind the wheels. With more cities introducing bike lanes, it's never been easier to switch your four wheels for two on the morning commute. Plus, you can get some exercise in before you’ve started your working day, and give yourself a pat on the back for reducing your carbon footprint. Alternatively, why not make a vow to take public transport on certain days of the week? You may need to plan ahead for your journey, but you can feel good about saving money and the environment.

2.Buy gas at the beginning or end of the day

You might not think that the time of day can affect how much money you’re putting down for your gas, but surprisingly it plays a bit of a role-especially in those summer months. Gas is cooler earlier in the day, or at night, and is more dense. That means you get more bang for your buck. As temperatures rise throughout the day, gas density falls and you get less of it when you pump. Who’d have thought general physics would help you save those pennies?

3. Slow it down

Not only can speeding land you with a ticket or fine, it also eats away at your gas without you even realising. Driving fast increases drag which, in turn, increases gas guzzling. Start driving at a steady pace and you’ll notice that you have to fill up a lot less often.

4. Be cautious about when and how you brake

If you find yourself braking excessively then you’re unknowingly wasting your precious gas, as well as burning out those brake pads. Try and maintain a safe distance  from the car in front when you’re driving, and then you will be less likely to find yourself slamming your foot down to avoid smashing into your fellow roadsters. Improve the efficiency of your car, save on gas and help make the roads a safer place for all.

5. Spend less time warming up your car

After being sat out in the snow through a long, winter night, it’s standard procedure to stick your heater on for a little bit before you get in your car so that you don’t get frostbite on your drive to work. However, by leaving your heater running for even just a few minutes less can help you boost your fuel efficiency. Plus if you idle the engine for more than one minute, you not only waste fuel, but also pump those nasty greenhouse gases into the air. The newer your car is, the less time you need to leave it running to get things nice and toasty.

6. Turn down the A/C

Similarly, although turning on the air conditioning can be the thing that saves you on a long, stuffy car journey in the midsummer, it is also burning through your fuel. Why not think about parking your car in shady spots to keep it cooler when you aren’t in it, and roll the windows down when you are, to get some natural air flow going.

7. Avoid highway gas stations

If you’re heading out on the open road be sure to fill up your tank close to home. If you find yourself hitting the red on the highway, and having to resort to filling up at a highway gas station, you’ll pay the price too.

8.Maintain your car

Performing car maintenance can be done relatively inexpensively and at home. By doing so not only can you save on gas, you will also find that you save on an influx of repairs and lengthy repair bills.

  • Monitor your tires: Under-inflation causes tires to wear out, in turn wasting gas. If you make sure your tires are properly inflated it reduces friction and offers better gas mileage. Be aware that temperature changes can cause tire pressure to fluctuate rapidly, so keep an eye on your tire pressure when the seasons change.

  • Tune the engine: All car engines need to be regularly tuned. When your engine is properly turned it uses less gas, so make sure you schedule them in frequently.

  • Use the right motor oil: Make sure that you are using the right motor oil for your car. If you aren’t sure which kind of oil you need, have a flick through the owner’s manual or search online. Using the wrong type of motor oil means your engine has to work harder and wastes gas.

  • Change filters: As air flows through your filter, it becomes filled with pollen, dust and debris. Once clogged your air filter won’t allow enough fresh air to enter the engine, affecting the performance of your vehicle over time. Having a clean filter helps to keep your car running more fuel efficiently.

9. Choose the best route

These days everyone has a smartphone, so finding out the fastest and shortest route is available at the touch of a button. However, the best routes for fuel efficiency are the ones with the fewest stop signs and traffic lights.

10. Use a gas app

Speaking of technology, there’s an app for everything these days, and that includes fuel efficiency. Download an app such as Gas Buddy which collects data from more than 75 million users to help you save money on gas and find the perfect pit stop. Its community of users update gas prices in their local area every day, so that no matter where your journey takes you, it never has to leave you out of pocket.