As gas prices slightly trend down this week after some of the highest national averages seen in recent months, some Canadians may be thinking twice before planning their usual summer road trip plans.
A June survey published by The Canadian Automobile Association’s (CAA) South Central Ontario division found that 64 per cent of respondents said rising fuel prices are likely to affect their road trip plans.
The average price of gas in Canada has reached record levels in recent weeks, with prices climbing to more than $2 in some regions. The CAA noted that the national average is currently sitting at $1.95, as of July 6.
While avoiding a surge at pumps is impossible, there are a few ways to save money on gas bills, mainly having a plan before hitting the road. CTVNews.ca looks at how drivers can save while taking road trips this summer.
KEEP TABS ON GAS PRICES
Gas prices start to rise around Thursday nearer to the weekend, so filling up at the beginning of the week might save drivers a few precious dollars, according to car shopping platform Canada Drives.
The platform also recommends travellers check predictions of gas prices in the upcoming months on the CAA’s website and gas predictions’ site Gas Wizard, if they plan to travel in the future.
DRIVE SMARTER TO PAY LESS
Drivers waste 22 cents more in gas for every 8 kilometres over 80.5 km/h they travel on the highway, according to Gas Buddy, an app that tracks changes in real-time gas prices.
“If it’s possible, slow down on the road, or even take the scenic route instead of the interstate, to save a lot of money on gas,” Gas Buddy says on its website.
“Similarly, practising poor driving habits like aggressive braking, speeding and frequent acceleration can cost you at the pump. Don’t let the summer heat “heat” up your road rage – calm down on the road and let the savings roll in.”
Canada Drives says aggressive driving uses up 35 per cent more gas than when driving near the speed limit, calling it the “single biggest way to make a dent in your monthly gas bill.”
National Resources Canada has found that while abrupt braking can reduce time to destination by four per cent, it increases fuel consumption by 39 per cent.
USE LOYALTY PROGRAMS AND APPS
A few membership rewards programs and gas stations that provide discounts on gasoline purchases are Shell Fuel Rewards, Esso Extra, Petro Points, and Costco.
Canada Drives also recommends figuring out which station near you offers the most affordable deal.
Canada Drives suggests using GasBuddy, Waze, and the Canadian Automobile Association’s mobile app to help.
MAINTAIN YOUR CAR, GET RID OF DEAD WEIGHT
The more load a car is carrying, the more gas it will burn as it works harder to go forward. Drivers will likely get higher gas mileage if they remove all the unnecessary items that are adding weight to your vehicle, according to Canada Drives.
“You don’t need a bike rack in winter or a ski rack in summer – they just add unnecessary weight and make your car expend more energy,” a blog post on the CAA Quebec division’s website notes.
“Consider this: With every 25 kg load, there is a one per cent increase in fuel consumption.”
It is also important that drivers make sure their car remains up to date on maintenance, and that tires are always properly inflated. Whether or not cars should use less or more air conditioning depends on the vehicle, Canada Drive says.
“If you have a smaller, more aerodynamic car, use the AC. If your vehicle is larger and bulkier, crack open some windows,” it writes on its website.