Gas prices have smashed records in recent weeks as the world grapples with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and demand has soared as the economy reopens.
The daily average retail price for gas across the country hit an all-time high of $197.4 per litre Tuesday, up from the start of the year, when it hovered around $146.1, Natural Resources Canada data shows.
The high prices have drivers grumbling, but there are a few ways to get better mileage and reduce your gas bills, says Teresa Di Felice, an assistant vice-president at the Canadian Automobile Association’s south central Ontario branch.
Plan your trips
Saving on gas and getting better mileage starts before you leave home. If you research your route and use traffic newscasts or driving apps, you can avoid accident zones and other slow-moving areas, which can help you save on gas, says Di Felice.
Group your trips too. “Sometimes we go out some place and then get home and are like, ‘Oh I meant to go to that place,’ and you go out again,” Di Felice said. “Try and think about the trips that you need to take, so you can combine them and avoid rush hour.”
Practice proper vehicle maintenance
Mileage is better when vehicles are running properly, says Di Felice. To keep your vehicle in good shape, she recommends ensuring engine filters are clean, brake fluids are topped up and tire pressure is optimal.
“It’s not good for your gas or your car if you’re driving underinflated or even overinflated,” she said.
To learn what the optimal pressure is, Di Felice tells drivers to look for guidance printed on the inside of your driver-side car door. Because driving, road conditions and weather can impact pressure, she suggests setting a monthly alert on your phone or marking your calendar, so you review the tire pressure regularly.
Avoid hard braking and ‘jack rabbit’ starts
Cars consume more fuel when they go from stopping to travelling at a high speed immediately or vice versa. When you drive, try not to slam on the brakes at the last second or hit the gas hard as you take off from a stop light or sign, says Di Felice.
Use cruise control, when it is safe
Maintaining a constant speed can boost savings because you’re avoiding fluctuations that hurt your fuel efficiency. Turn to cruise control, when it’s safe, to help your mileage, says Di Felice, who notes maximum fuel efficiency is achieved for most cars between 80 and 90 km/h.
“People have this idea that they have to run their car before they start driving it in order for it to warm up because they think that’s better for the car,” said Di Felice.
“That may be true, if you’re driving a really, really old model … but you don’t really need to run a newer car for two or three minutes before you take off.”
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6:48Squeezing every drop of gas out of your drive