With the Canadian dollar weakening and the price of crude increasing, filling up the tank is only expected to get more expensive. While most Canadians can't control the cost of fuel, they can certainly reduce their own fuel consumption with a few simple strategies:
1. Don't accelerate too quickly after stopping. "The harder you accelerate and the harder you brake, the more fuel you're using," said Kristine D'Arbelles, manager of public affairs for CAA. "To maximize your fuel efficiency, take five seconds to accelerate up to 20 km/h."
2. Choose the lane of least resistance. The more you stop, the more fuel you waste.
3. Plan routes with the least amount of traffic, fewest stoplights, or other interruptions in traffic flow, even if it means driving a greater distance overall.
4. Take your foot off the gas if there is a stop coming up. "If the car in front of you is braking, use that opportunity to coast," said D'Arbelles.
5. Take advantage of cruise control to maintain a steady speed on long trips. "Every time you accelerate and get up to a new speed, you're using more gas," said D'Arbelles.
6. Don't carry unnecessary cargo. Avoid using your car as a locker, unload heavy gear as quickly as possible, and leave the hockey bag at home between games.
7. Remove bike and ski racks when they're not in use, as they reduce the vehicle's aerodynamics by causing unnecessary drag.
8. Avoid speeding. "You use 20 per cent less fuel when you're driving at 90 km/h instead of 110 km/h," said D'Arbelles.
9. Be gentle on your pedals. "Most of it is really our driving attitude," said Scott Marshall, director of training for Young Drivers. "Take it easy when you're behind the wheel, there's no hurry. If you really want to get there early, leave a little bit earlier, that way you don't feel that you have to use this extra fuel to get there."
10. Keep tires inflated to the recommended pressure level. "A properly inflated tire rolls a lot easier than a soft tire, and takes less energy to move your vehicle," said Marshall.
11. Check air filters regularly, every 5,000-10,000 kilometres, said Andy Chiodo, marketing manager for Active Green and Ross. "A gasoline engine uses 15 parts of air to one part of gas at sea level," he said. "If your air filter is 50 per cent blocked, you're burning more fuel."
12. Check wheel alignment regularly. Improper alignment can cause additional drag.
13. Don't ignore warning lights on your dashboard. "If you have a 'check engine' light on, chances are you're burning more fuel than you should be," said Chiodo. "It doesn't mean your car is going to fail today, but there could be something that's causing some of the components not to work 100 per cent."
14. Get regular tune-ups to anticipate issues before they occur.
15. Drive less. Arrange carpools, use public transit or walk. This will reduce your fuel consumption and save on costs like parking while improving the resale value of your vehicle.
If you have questions about driving or car maintenance, please contact our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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