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How to save money on fuel
How can you save money on fuel?
By Bill Roebuck
Drivers seems to complain more about the money they spend on fuel than any other thing -- even more than the reliability of their vehicles. That's probably because most of today's relatively new vehicles are fairly reliable, but drivers have to buy fuel pretty much weekly, so they're reminded of reasons to fume over fuel much more often.
Yet astute drivers also know that using less fuel also means putting fewer emissions into the air, which is obviously better for the environment. That alone can be as good as keeping more money in your wallet.
There are several ways to save when it comes to fuel. You can buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle and save every day. You can also get a rebate (or avoid an inefficiency penalty). There are ways of driving to reduce the amount of fuel you use, and there's even a sweet spot in each vehicle that gives the best fuel economy. Finally, you can shop around your neighbourhood for the best gas prices. And if you prefer to work in mpg instead of litres per 100 km, we provide the formulae to do the conversion.
We've done all the research to provide you with the solutions suggested. Links and more details are provided below. (Highlighted words are links to the data referenced.)
Fuel efficiency rebates and fuel inefficiency penalties
In Canada, you'll pay more for some vehicles because they are not fuel efficient, while you can get a rebate on others because of their good fuel efficiency. Find out which vehicles are on each list here.
Which vehicles have the best fuel economy?
How to use less fuel when driving
Looking for easy ways to save money and reduce vehicle emissions? Your driving habits – when and where you drive, how often, the speed you travel, your aggressiveness on the road and other factors – have a lot to do with your vehicle's fuel consumption and costs. You can control the costs of operating a vehicle and minimize the emissions it produces by making a commitment to drive less and to drive more efficiently. Look up these tips from Natural Resources Canada to improve your fuel efficiency.
What speed should I drive to get the maximum fuel economy?
Here's how to figure out your vehicle's 'sweet spot' to get the best fuel economy it can give. Click here for an answer, courtesy of How Stuff Works. Also see this chart of speed versus fuel economy elsewhere on our site.
The Canadian Automobile Association's Driving Costs brochure can help you calculate how much it costs to own and operate your vehicle each year. The national averages and approximate driving costs provided will help you understand what factors affect the cost of driving, including: what vehicle you drive, how you drive and even where you live. The figures provided in CAA's Driving Costs guide represent national averages based on figures available as of December 2004 (the most current report available). To read the report, click on this link, Driving Costs, 2005 Edition (pdf, 87kb). The report can also be found by visiting the CAA website at www.caa.ca and selecting the Automotive section. You'll find a link to Driving Costs at the bottom of the page.
Where to get the best gas prices
Visit the websites suggested below to find the best fuel prices in your neighbourhood at the moment. Go to a site, find your region, and see a list of current gas prices in your area. You also can post your own local gas station prices to help the process for others. These sites are simple, handy and easy to use. Also check out TorontoGasPrices.com for listings of gas prices posted in the past 24 hours in the Greater Toronto Area.
GasBuddy.com links to 170+ gas price web sites across Canada and the U.S.
GasTips.com summarizes the lowest gas prices reported for each community in the past 4 days.
TorontoGasPrices.com for gas prices in the GTA.
Gasticker.com covers gas prices across Canada.
Or turn to the Weekly Pump Price Survey of M.J. Ervin & Associates for pump price data (including and excluding tax) for the current week in 44 cities across Canada. It includes the prices for Regular, Mid-grade, Premium, Diesel & Propane.
How to convert L/100 km to miles per gallon (mpg) or vice versa
To convert L/100 km to MPG, use the appropriate formula, depending on where you live:
In Canada and Europe: 282.481 ÷ (insert value) L/100 km = MPG (Imperial gallon)
(for example, if you use 8 litres per 100 km, you'd be getting 282.481 divided by 8 = 35.3 mpg)
The U.S. gallon is about 20% smaller than the Imperial gallon that is used in Canada and Europe, so a different formula is required. In the U.S.: 235.2146 ÷ (insert value) L/100 km = MPG (US liquid gallon)
To convert MPG to L/100 km, use the appropriate formula, depending on where you live:
In Canada and Europe: 282.481 ÷ (insert value) MPG (Imperial gallon) = L/100 km
(for example, if you get 35 mpg, then you'll use 282.481 divided by 35 = 8.1 litres per 100 km)
In the U.S.: 235.2146 ÷ (insert value) mpg (US liquid gallon) = L/100 km
By applying the information we've given you here, you should be able to take advantage of all opportunities to reduce the amount you spend on fuel for your vehicle, which is good for you. But more importantly, it's also good for the environment, as you'll as use less fuel overall and generate lesser amounts of harmful pollution. It's a win-win scenario.
Bill Roebuck is the editor of CarTest.ca. © CarTest.ca. Posted Sept. 1, 2007; Updated July 3, 2009.