March 31, 2011 – (Burnaby, B.C.): With gasoline prices soaring across the province, B.C. drivers may be looking for ways to stretch the time between visits to the gas station, and shrink their monthly fuel bills. The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) says, by taking a number of fuel-saving steps, drivers can lower costs � and reduce harm to the environment, too.
“How you drive can impact how much fuel your vehicle uses,” says Ken Cousin, BCAA’s Associate Vice President, 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 jack-rabbit 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 uses about 20 percent less fuel.
“It may also be tempting to hold back on your vehicle’s scheduled maintenance to save money,” adds Cousin. “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.”
In addition to practicing “eco-driving” and proper vehicle maintenance, BCAA also recommends drivers be on the look-out for other ways to save. For example, drivers should stick with one gas retailer to maximize loyalty rewards. Or, drivers of fuel efficient vehicles may be eligible for insurance discounts. BCAA offers a five percent discount on its member-exclusive optional auto insurance to owners of certain fuel efficient vehicles recognized by Natural Resources Canada’s ecoENERGY Vehicles Awards list.
In addition, BCAA recommends the following to ensure drivers get the most from their fuel dollars:
- Plan your route and consolidate trips. If you can, avoid high-traffic areas and rush hours. Also, avoid making unnecessary trips. Find one location where you can take care of banking, grocery shopping and other errands. When possible, combine them with your daily commute.
- Only use as much vehicle as you need. If you own more than one vehicle, use the more fuel -efficient vehicle as often as possible. When purchasing a car, compare fuel efficiency ratings with ecoEngergy’s Fuel Consumption Guide, produced by Natural Resources Canada (http://www.vehicles.gc.ca/) or check out the CAA’s Eco Choice fuel-efficiency calculator (www.bcaa.com/eco).
- Avoid unnecessary idling. Shutting off and re-starting the engine consumes less fuel and emits less pollutants.
- Watch the weight. Clean out the trunk, cargo areas and passenger compartments. Less weight means better mileage. Also, remove roof racks when not in use to reduce wind resistance. If you really need to carry a load, secure it safely and evenly distribute the weight.
- Shop wisely. Keep your eyes open for low fuel prices but don’t waste gas driving to a distant filling station to save a few cents a litre. Purchasing gas from companies that offer loyalty rewards is one way to offset high gas prices.
- Use the appropriate gas. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended octane rating for your car. Using regular fuel when premium is called for can affect your car’s drivability and fuel economy. And despite its name, premium fuel is not a �better’ fuel; it’s just made differently for different engine parameters. You may be paying more money unnecessarily by using premium grade in a vehicle that only requires regular fuel.
- Use your vehicle’s fuel-efficient driving mode. If your vehicle is equipped with driving mode selections and a computer readout to display fuel consumption results, learn how these features work and try different modes. You will see savings by selecting a driving mode that is designed to save fuel and will likely not even notice a difference in vehicle performance.
Get more eco-driving tips and learn how you can save money: visit the Car & Car Care section at bcaa.com.