Are high gas prices making you sweat? You’re not alone. In 2022, gas prices reached higher levels than they’ve ever been in Canada, and consumers feel the pinch.
Since transportation is such a huge expense for most households, it’s messing with people’s wallets and budgets. Because of this, I put together a list of tips to help you save money on gasoline in Canada.
If you consistently implement this advice, you’ll start seeing your savings add up, and maybe it won’t be as painful to pull into the gas station.
Ready to start? Follow these tips to make your money go further when filling up.
Here’s why gas prices keep climbing, and most experts expect them to stay high for a while. The Russian invasion of Ukraine caused severe consequences for the rest of the world.
Russia is one of the biggest oil producers, but as the war gained traction, big-name energy companies like Shell, BP, and Exxon Mobil pulled their interests out of the country, helping to drive prices up worldwide.
But that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Prices were already high before the Ukraine war, with increased demand as the main reason.
With COVID lockdowns ending, big gas-guzzling businesses like the airline and cruise industries are returning to normal, and gas production can’t keep up.
Surging gas prices have huge consequences for your budget, but there are ways to save a few dollars if you know what you’re doing. If you need relief at the pump, check out these tips.
Gas prices are usually highest on the weekends and start creeping up later in the week. To avoid that, fill up your tank Monday through Wednesday for the biggest savings.
We’ve all been there. Out running errands, driving kids back and forth, and finally realizing the tank is nearing empty. When that happens, you just roll into the first gas station you see, no matter the price.
Instead, try filling up when you’re around the halfway point. This gives you more chances to shop around for the best deal.
Find the best gas price just by pulling out your phone. I know, I know, not another app to download, but if this app promises to save you serious cash, isn’t it worth it? Here are my top picks.
- GasBuddy. Download this app to find nearby gas stations and prices – all verified by other users.
- Waze. Similar to GasBuddy, Waze offers a real-time look at gas stations close to you. In addition, it is a great navigation app that gives you traffic information, including construction, alternate routes, and police sightings.
- CAA. Members of Canadian Automobile Associates can use the app to get updates on gas prices nearby, as well as information about average prices and trends.
4. Join a Membership Rewards Program
Loyalty programs are a great way to save money at the pump. Companies like Esso, Shell, and Petro all offer rewards every time you fill up. Those rewards can turn into discounts on gas, in-store savings, and car washes.
A membership to warehouse giant Costco doesn’t just save you money on groceries and household items.
You can pay less at the pump, too. Costco always seems to have the lowest gas prices around, and that’s on purpose. It wants to attract new and existing members to its store.
One Costco rep explained why, telling CTV, “We have taken many operating costs out of the equation, enabling us to reduce the sell price. Each one of our business units needs to stand on its own and generate substantial profit margins.”
With memberships starting at $60 per year, it might be worth it to consider joining for gas savings.
How you drive affects your gas gauge. Quick acceleration, speeding, and hard braking all use more gas than driving smoothly and within the speed limit. Instead, try using cruise control if you’re on the highway to keep your speed steady and increase your fuel efficiency.
Another easy tip – is don’t idle your vehicle for long periods. You don’t need to “heat up” your car to get it moving. Maybe that was true of older model cars, but not anymore.
Ok, so using air conditioning isn’t going to reduce your mileage or drain all your gas, but it could have a slight impact depending on the vehicle you drive. If driving a smaller car, opening windows might cause more resistance, making the vehicle work harder and less fuel-efficient.
The opposite is true of trucks and SUVs. The takeaway is to use your AC driving on the highway and limit it at slower speeds.
Your car is a machine and needs occasional tune-ups and looking after to make it run as efficiently as possible. Not only will this maintenance keep performance up, but it should improve your gas mileage. Here’s what to keep an eye on.
- Tire pressure. When inflated correctly, the tires will reduce road friction and improve gas mileage. Most vehicles today have a tire pressure sensor on the dashboard, making it even easier to know when you’re low.
- Regular maintenance. Keep your engine purring by using clean filters and making sure you schedule regular oil changes.
- Stay light. Does your car have a roof rack you never use? Is your trunk full of junk? Extra heft can weigh your car down, making it work harder and use more fuel. Take the time to clear out your vehicle. Imagine the treasures you’ll find! In addition to cleaning your car, your extra effort will lighten your load and your gas bill.
Instead of aimlessly driving around and completing all your errands, plan your route. Figure out where you need to go and which way is best. Make sure you’re not backtracking or driving around without a purpose. You’ll soon notice these outlined trips will save you time and money.
Premium gasoline costs more than regular. Most cars usually run on regular gas, but check your owner’s manual first.
If premium gas is recommended, your car probably won’t suffer any issues but may not be up to the same performance standards if you use the lower grade.
However, if the manual says to use premium, don’t skip it. You’ll encounter problems down the road.
10. Choose An Alternate Method of Transportation
If your gas bill is really affecting your budget, you might need to drive less or find other ways to get around. This could include biking, walking, or even carpooling with coworkers, friends, and family.
If your community provides public transportation, look into it and see if it is more cost-effective than driving.
If it’s soon time to replace your vehicle, consider more fuel-efficient options. Opt for smaller vehicles with better gas mileage, or choose a hybrid or electric car. Your gas savings will be immediate.
In addition to following the tips above, finding the cheapest fill-up station will go a long way to saving you bank on gas.
As noted earlier, Costco is one of the cheapest stations around when you’re short on gas. Their prices are lower than competitors to start with, and if you pay with a Costco Mastercard, you can earn cash back rewards every time you fill-up.
The downside is that you have to be a Costco member, and the lines tend to be longer since they have shorter hours than the competition.
Next up, look for stations that offer reward points. This includes Esso, PetroCanada, and Canadian Tire. All these places offer customer rewards programs where you can earn points for each purchase. Use the points for gas rewards or in-store purchases.
Finally, the cheaper stations depend on where you live. Edmonton and Calgary come in with the lowest gas prices in all of Canada because they’re closest to the oil refineries.
On the flip side, British Columbia and the Atlantic Provinces pay the most in fuel costs. If you’re close enough to live by the border, it is cheaper to fill up in the U.S. right now but keep your eye on prices and the exchange rate before you make the trip.
High gas prices can wreck a household budget, but since it looks like they’re here to stay, at least for a while, changing your driving habits and finding ways to get the best deal can make a big difference in how much you pay each month.
If you get into a routine of implementing the tips above, you’ll see a major difference every time you fill up.
But if you want to save even more, check out if a hybrid car is worth it.