No, it’s not just you. Gas prices have been going up. And, according to analysts, it’s a trend that’s not going away anytime soon.
As we roll into Thanksgiving weekend, Canadians across the country can expect gas to be a cent or two more expensive — if they’re lucky. If you live in certain cities, such as Toronto or Winnipeg, you can expect gas to be as high as $1.44 or $1.50 cents per litre.
For those of us who can’t avoid driving (or who can’t drop a couple of grand on a new Tesla), those few extra cents can easily translate into a few hundred dollars. Sick of paying more at the pump? Here are 15 ways to save.
1. Use a rewards or cashback credit card
If you can’t make prices go back down, you might as well profit off them, right? Well, with the right rewards card or cashback credit card, you can earn as much as 3% off your fuel purchases. That may not seem like a lot up front, but trust me — over time, you can earn back your extra spending.
2. Don’t speed
Slow drivers may get a bad rep, but one thing’s for sure. They’re spending a lot less on fuel than you. The ideal driving speed is around 100 kilometers per hour (most experts recommend driving 50 to 80 km/h, but let’s be real — at that point, you may as well take a bike).
For every 10 km/h above 100 km/h, you can expect to pay 10% more on fuel. So, look at it this way: if it costs you $10 to travel from one place to another at 100km/h, then it would cost you $12 to travel the same distance at 120km/h.
3. Travel light
Extra weight in your car will cost you more at the pump. Put the bike rack in storage, and travel as light as possible.
4. Check your tire pressure
Travelling with the optimal tire pressure can boost your mileage by quite a few kilometers. Now that we’re entering winter, be sure your tires are properly inflated.
5. Use apps
Like Waze, CAA, or GasBuddy. These apps will tell you where the best gas prices are — and how far you are from them. They can be super ideal when you’re not traveling on empty, and you have more freedom to choose among gas stations.
6. Avoid filling on weekends
Fridays and Saturdays tend to be the most expensive days to buy fuel in Canada. According to a report by GasBuddy (released a few years ago), the best days to buy gas are Tuesday and Wednesday.
7. Get a Costco membership
This will cost you. But if you’re already considering buying a membership, maybe now’s the time to do it. You’ll save money on fuel, and you can stock up on bulk pumpkin pies.
8. Avoid driving in bad weather
Adverse weather conditions not only put drivers at risk. They also cost you in fuel. Heavy winds can cause aerodynamic drag (especially if you have a roof rack), while snow and rain can add more rolling resistance to your tires. If you can, try to wait out storms, and definitely avoid driving if you feel unsafe.
9. Fill up before you hit empty
Most of us wait until the ticker is at “E” before we contemplate buying gas. This is a big no-no. If you wait until you’re desperate, you’ll buy gas anywhere — often at a higher price. Instead, start looking for gas when the ticket is near a quarter. You’ll be in a better position to spot a deal.
10. Avoid rush hour
Idling your car decreases fuel efficiency. Plan your route ahead of time so you can avoid sitting in a deadlock.
11. Get a new air filter
I used to think this was just a sales tactic the guys at the Midas would tell me when I changed my oil. “Change the filter, they’d say, “It’ll save you 20% on fuel.” Turns out air filters do help your fuel efficiency. Pro tip: buy the air filter online or at an auto parts store. It’ll be much cheaper than what Midas or any other oil change facilities will charge you.
12. Don’t idle your car in the morning
Again, idling your car decreases fuel efficiency. While, yes, your car will be freezing cold, just wear extra layers. The car will warm up when you get on the road, and you’ll save money.
13. Stick with regular gas
Unless you have to buy premium, don’t. You need every penny you can pinch.
14. Look out for memberships
Petro Canada, Esso, and Shell all over loyalty programs that are free to sign for. You’ll earn points as you buy gas, which you can redeem later. Pro tip: use your gas loyalty card with a rewards card or cashback card to double dip your earnings.
15. Don’t drive
Finally, if you’re sick of rising prices, make a statement and stop driving. Go to work on a bicycle, use public transportation, or find a job that lets you work from home.