Burnaby, British Columbia – Taking a number of fuel-saving steps can help drivers cope with rising prices at the pump, according to the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA). The association’s suggested methods can also help to reduce harm to the environment.

“How you drive can impact how much fuel your vehicle uses,” said Ken Cousin, BCAA associate vice-president of Road Assist. “A little common sense can go a long way to save gas, improve your safety and driving skills. Slowing down, maintaining steady speeds, along with avoiding jackrabbit starts and hard braking are easy ways to save on gas.”

According to Natural Resources Canada’s ecoEnergy 2011 Fuel Consumption Guide, reducing your speed from 120 km/h to 100 km/h will result in using about 20 per cent less fuel.

“It may also be tempting to hold back on your vehicle’s scheduled maintenance to save money,” Cousin said. “But that will end up costing more in the long run. A well-tuned vehicle with properly inflated tires uses less fuel, while regular maintenance will help extend the life of your vehicle and maintain resale value for longer.”

BCAA also recommends that drivers be on the lookout for other ways to save, such as sticking with one gas retailer to maximize loyalty rewards, or seeing if fuel-efficient vehicles are eligible for insurance discounts. BCAA offers a five per cent discount on its member-exclusive optional auto insurance to owners of certain vehicles recognized by Natural Resources Canada as being fuel-efficient.

BCAA also recommends the following:

Plan your route and consolidate trips, avoiding high-traffic areas and rush hours if possible. Avoid making unnecessary trips by finding one location where you can take care of banking, shopping and other errands, and combine them with the daily commute if you can.

Only use as much vehicle as you need, using the more fuel-efficient vehicle as often as possible if you own more than one. When purchasing a car, compare fuel efficiency ratings at Natural Resources or the CAA’s Eco Choice fuel-efficiency calculator.

Avoid unnecessary idling, and clean out the trunk, cargo areas and passenger compartments to reduce weight. Remove the roof racks when not in use, which reduces wind resistance.

Shop wisely, keeping your eyes open for low fuel prices but without wasting gas driving to a distant filling station to save a few cents per litre. Purchase gas from companies that offer loyalty rewards, which will help offset high gas prices.

Use the appropriate fuel grade, checking your owner’s manual for the recommended octane rating. Despite its name, premium fuel is not a “better” fuel, but is made differently for different engine parameters. You may be paying more unnecessarily by using premium grade in a vehicle that only requires regular-grade fuel.

Use your vehicle’s fuel-efficient driving mode if it is equipped with driving mode selection. You will see savings by selecting a driving mode designed to save fuel and will likely not notice a difference in the vehicle’s performance.

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