May 13, 2008
Burnaby, British Columbia – The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) is offering tips to help drivers save money at the pumps in the face of rising gas prices.
“When gas prices soar, motorists may be tempted to skimp on taking proper care of their vehicles,” said Ken Cousin, BCAA’s Road Assist Director. “What they don’t realize is that good maintenance and driving habits will save them money. In addition, they will also reduce harm to the environment, by lowering air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.”
BCAA’s “top ten” list of gas-saving tips are:
- Consolidate trips, finding one location where you can take care of banking, grocery shopping and other chores. When possible, combine them with your daily commute. Short trips of less than five km generally do not allow the engine to reach its peak operating temperature, reducing the level of fuel efficiency.
- Only use as much vehicle as you need; if you own more than one, use the more energy-efficient vehicle as often as possible, or ride your bike or walk.
- Save money by slowing down, anticipating traffic patterns, maintaining steady speed and avoiding jackrabbit starts and hard braking. A European study found that rapid acceleration from stoplights and hard braking reduced travel time by just four per cent in city driving, but created a 37 per cent jump in fuel consumption and five-fold increase in emissions.
- Avoid unnecessary idling. Shutting off and restarting the engine consumes less fuel and emits fewer pollutants.
- Clean out the trunk, cargo areas and passenger compartments to reduce weight, and remove storage boxes from roof racks.
- Keep your eyes open for low fuel prices, but don’t waste gas driving to a distant filling station to save a few cents per litre. Purchasing gas from companies that offer loyalty rewards can help offset gas prices.
- Check your owner’s manual for the recommended octane rating for your car, and choose regular fuel if you can. Most modern vehicles are designed to run on regular-grade, 87-octane fuel.
- Keep your tires inflated, moving components properly lubricated, and ignition and emissions systems operating properly. Something as simple as replacing a clogged air filter can make a measurable difference in gas mileage.
- Consider other commuting options, such as carpooling, cycling, public transportation, or beginning the work day earlier or later to avoid rush-hour traffic. Carpooling options can be found at Ride-Share.com.
- If you’re upgrading your vehicle, compare fuel efficiency ratings with EnerGuide’s Fuel Consumption Guide, available at Vehicles.gc.ca.