15 Super Simple Ways to Save on Gas This Summer

Here’s how to save on gas this summer.

Filling up at the gas pumps.

Image source: Getty Images

The national average for gas is hovering around $1.70, though that’s expected to rise. A rise in the new carbon tax, the war in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia, a global shortage due to COVID-19 disruption, and the traditional summer price hikes have all combined to make gas one of the most expensive line items in the average Canadian budget.

What can you do to bring down your gas prices? If you don’t have the money to buy an electric car, here are 15 different ways you could save.

1. Use a rewards or cash-back 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 cash-back 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.

You might also want to look into the Canadian Tire Triangle Mastercard. From now until June, this card earns 10 cents back per litre at Gas+ and Husky gas stations. At 10 cents per litre, you’ll save more than most cash-back credit cards.

2. Avoid filling up on weekends

According to a report by GasBuddy (released a few years ago), the best days to buy gas are Tuesday and Wednesday. Typically, the most expensive days are Fridays and Saturdays.

3. 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 ideal when you’re not traveling on empty and you have more freedom to choose among gas stations.

4. 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.

5. Check your tire pressure

Traveling with the optimal tire pressure can boost your mileage by quite a few kilometres. Now that we’re entering summer, be sure you deflate your tires a bit, as hot air makes them expand.

6. 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 kilometres per hour (most experts recommend driving 50-80 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.

7. Get a Costco membership (and rewards card)

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. And if you really want to save on gas, then maybe you should get the CIBC Costco Mastercard, which earns 3% back on all Costco fuel purchases.

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. Start your car when you’re ready to go instead of letting it sit.

13. Stick with regular gas

Don’t buy premium, unless you have to. You need every penny you can pinch.

14. Look out for memberships

Many gas companies offer loyalty programs that are free to sign for and will help you save. You’ll earn points as you buy gas, which you can redeem later. Pro tip: double dip with a cash-back credit card to save even more.

15. Don’t drive

This may seem obvious, but it’s worth stressing: if you’re sick of rising prices, just stop driving. Get a bicycle, use public transportation, or find a job that lets you work from home.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

The Motley Fool recommends Mastercard. Fool contributor Steven Porrello has no position in the companies mentioned. 

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