How Can I Save on Gas While Driving? You Need to Know These Fuel Efficiency Tips

A man pumping gas into his white car.

Even if you live in a province with lower average gas prices like Alberta, you probably wonder what you can do to save money on gas. Some fuel economy tips are common sense, like driving at a steady, moderate speed and not accelerating drag-race style from a full stop. We’ve put together some tips you can incorporate into your daily driving routine that will save fuel and money at the pump.

Tip #1: Put Your Vehicle on a Diet

You may not think about those extra water bottles you may have in the back of your car or the toolbox you haven’t used for a year. What about your son or daughter’s sporting equipment? Clean out your trunk and rear seats. Every bit of extra weight you’re carrying uses gas each time you drive.

If your vehicle has a ski or bike rack that’s used infrequently, remove it during the off-season. Racks add extra weight and they create drag at highway speeds, reducing fuel efficiency.

Tip #2: Drive With a Laid-Back Attitude

Aggressive driving, including fast speeds, quick acceleration, and sudden screeching stops is a costly habit. Studies have shown that lead-footed drivers use up to 40 percent more fuel than easy-going ones. Your car is optimized to drive most efficiently at 50 to 80 kph. If you’re taking a road trip, keep under 110 kph on highways and allow faster drivers to pass. If your car has a fuel consumption display, use this to determine how much driving at a moderate speed saves over driving at 100 kph or higher.

Tip #3: Plan Ahead for Errands and Trips

Plan your errands. According to Natural Resources Canada,  combining shopping and other errands into a single trip saves fuel, because a warmed-up engine is more efficient than a cold one. Combining all your stops into a single trip will save fuel over several smaller trips.

Tip #4: Keep Your Tires At the Proper Pressure

You may have heard that overinflating your tires can improve gas mileage. This isn’t true and it can be unsafe, leading to a tire blowout. Underinflated tires can increase your car’s use of gas by up to six percent. Check your tire pressure when the tires are cool – wait at least three hours after you’ve taken a trip to measure their inflation.

Tip #5: Run Your Air Conditioner At The Right Time

Have you ever wondered "do you save money on gas by rolling down your windows and avoiding the air conditioner" vs. "run that A/C all day long!" Here’s the truth: newer vehicles are more fuel efficient with the windows rolled up and A/C on at highway speeds. For in-town driving even in the newest cars, rolling the windows down and letting nature cool your car will give you better fuel economy.

Most of these tips are common sense, but it’s easy to overlook a heavy toolbox in the trunk or forget to check your tire pressure. While you're saving at the pump, you could also save money on your car insurance with