How to Save on Gas in Canada: The Ultimate Guide

October 21, 2019

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

  1. Use mobile technology to find lower prices in your area
  2. Improve your driving habits to reduce gas usage
  3. Perform regular car maintenance for improved fuel efficiency
  4. Choose a fuel-efficient car

Read on for a deeper dive into each of those solutions.

1. Mobile technology: lower gas prices are just a tap away

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 tracking apps:

  • Gas Buddy: 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 Gas Buddy 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 or Android smartphone to search for local gas prices. 

Other ways to reduce gas prices:

    • Join a membership club: Costco, 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.
    • Gas gift cards: The next time someone asks you what you want for your birthday or Christmas, why not suggest a gas station gift card? It’s a gift that will definitely get used, unlike those socks your Aunt Mildred sends you every year.
    • 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. Also, it’s best to hit the gas station in the morning or evening because gasoline is more dense when it’s cooler, so you’ll get more fuel for the same amount of money. 
    • 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 which type of gas your vehicle needs, check the owner’s manual or chat with your mechanic.

2. 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:

A.) 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. A test by Edmonds.com revealed 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.

B.) 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. 

C.) 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.) Keep your warm-up periods to around 30 seconds or less whenever you can. 

D.) 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. 

E.) 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 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 a car that you can plug in at home every night.

If you’re looking for tips on which car will help you get the most bang for your buck, take a look at our blog post on the 5 most fuel-efficient and gas-saving cars under $15,000.

Canada Drives has been helping Canadians find vehicles with great auto finance rates since 2010. We’re partnered with dealerships all across the nation that offer incentives and promotions for people facing all types of credit situations. 

Apply with Canada Drives to learn more and see what you're eligible for

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