How to Save on Gas in Canada: The Ultimate Guide
Gas prices are constantly rising, so finding ways to cut fuel costs is more crucial than ever. There are many ways to save on gas, from the obvious (find a cheaper gas station) to the not-so-obvious (drive less aggressively). This comprehensive list of gas saver tips will help you save money so you can keep more of your hard-earned cash.
Quick poll: hands up if you love paying a lot of money on gas! Yeah, we didn’t think so. You may enjoy driving your vehicle, but the ever-climbing gas prices are probably making you grind your teeth every time you have to fill the tank.
The bad news is, gas prices aren’t likely to drop significantly any time soon, but the good news is there are plenty of easy ways to reduce the amount of gas you use and pay fewer cents per litre whenever you do have to fill up.
How to save on gas in Canada
You can jump to the section that interests you:
- Tips at the pump
- Download the best gas price apps
- Improve your driving habits to reduce gas usage
- Perform regular car maintenance for improved fuel efficiency
- Choose a fuel-efficient car
Tips at the pump
Where, when, and how you fill up can have an impact on your wallet. These tips can help you save some precious dollars at the pumps.
1. Choose your timing wisely
Gas prices tend to rise around Thursdays as the weekend draws nearer, so try to fill up near the beginning of the week.
2. Fill up when you don’t need to
Don’t wait until your tank is almost dry before filling up, because you’ll end up pulling into whatever station is closest and possibly paying a higher price. Start looking for a gas station when you’re around half full, so you’ll have more opportunity to shop around for the best deal.
3. Don’t pay for premium
The vast majority of vehicles work just fine with regular fuel, so why pay more for premium gas? If you’re not sure what grade of gas your vehicle prefers, check the owner’s manual or ask your mechanic.
4. Join a membership clubCostco, Esso Extra, Petro Points (from Petro-Canada), and Shell Fuel Rewards are just a few of the membership rewards programs and discount gas cars that offer savings on fuel purchases or other goods and services.
The best gas price apps in Canada
Thanks to the internet, smartphones, and lots of helpful people, it’s easy to get the lowdown on how much the local gas stations are charging for fuel.
Gas price tracking apps let you see the local gas prices at a glance, so you can figure out which station offers the best deal.
The most popular gas price apps:
- GasBuddy: After you download the iOS or Android app onto your phone you’ll get a handy list of all the gas stations nearby and their prices, as verified by your fellow GasBuddy users.
- Waze: This mapping app also includes a feature that lists gas prices provided by fellow drivers in the Waze community. It’s available for iOS and Android.
- CAA: If you’re a member of the Canadian Automobile Association (or an affiliated organization like BCAA), you can use the CAA app on your iOS smartphone to search for local gas prices.
Driving habits: drive smarter, pay less
How you drive can have a big effect on how much gas you use up every month. Here are some tips that’ll improve fuel efficiency:
1. Drive better
Aggressive driving uses up more gas — around 35% more, it turns out. Lots of quick acceleration, speeding, and sudden braking burns more gas than driving smoothly, calmly, and near the speed limit. Some studies suggest that you can boost fuel mileage by 35% simply by driving more like your grandmother and less like a short-tempered adrenaline junkie. This is probably the single biggest way to make a dent in your monthly gas bill.
2. Which saves more gas: air conditioning or windows down?
Most people know that using the air conditioning (AC) pulls energy from the engine, so blasting cold air inside your car can make your car’s fuel efficiency take a hit. But opening your window creates air resistance, which makes your car work harder and gulp down more gas. When the temperature starts climbing, which solution helps you save the most gas?
The answer depends on what type of car you have. Sleek, aerodynamic cars (like sedans and sports cars) have less wind resistance, so if you crank open the windows you’ll create a lot more drag. Larger, bulkier vehicles like SUVs and trucks (and cars with roof or bike racks) already create a lot of drag, so opening the window won’t make as much difference.
To summarize: if you have a smaller, more aerodynamic car, use the AC. If your vehicle is larger and bulkier, crack open some windows.
3. Keep your warm-ups short
It’s tempting to keep the car’s engine idling for a while on cold winter mornings so you can enjoy a toasty ride to work, but in doing so you’re sacrificing a significant amount of gas. (You’re also pumping a lot of harmful emissions into the air.) Limit your warm-up periods to three minutes or less.
4. Take the junk out of the trunk
The more weight you carry around, the harder your car has to work to move forward and the more gas you’ll burn. Empty out all the nonessentials that are weighing down your car and you’ll enjoy better gas mileage.
Regular maintenance helps save fuel
Keeping your car properly maintained on a regular basis not only maximizes performance, it also helps you save on gas.
- Tire air pressure: When your tires are at the proper inflation level they’ll do a better job of reducing friction, which helps improve gas mileage. Make sure to check them once a month. Also, only use winter tires during, y’know, the winter because they create more resistance and thus reduce gas mileage.
- Engine tune-up: If your engine is properly tuned up, with clean filters and the right type of motor oil (check your owner’s manual), it’ll run more efficiently and use less gas.
Choose a fuel-efficient car
If you’re in the market for a new ride, look for a car that’ll use less gas (or no gas, if you’re going electric) and save you money in the long run.
- Hybrid cars: They use two or more systems, usually a combination of gas and electric, which is why these PHEV cars provide incredibly good gas mileage.
- Electric cars: Say good-bye to ever visiting a gas station again (unless you really crave those gas station convenience store snacks) and get an electric car that you can plug in at home every night.
If you want to upgrade to something more fuel-efficient, Canada Drives has hundreds of certified vehicles that are ready to browse in our online showroom. Our online-only model means we have less overhead and zero dealer fees, and we pass those savings onto our customers.