With the average price of gasoline across Canada hovering close to $1.30 (according to Natural Resources Canada), is a fuel-efficient car in your future? If so, this handy summary of the Office of Energy Efficiency's (OEE) guide on how to choose a fuel-efficient vehicle will aid you in buying a car that will help you save at the pump.
New or used?
As a general rule, newer vehicles tend to be more fuel-efficient than older models. So if a new car is in the cards, be sure to compare the fuel consumption ratings. These can be found on the EnerGuide labels. If you are unfamiliar with the EnerGuide label, it is usually stickered to the vehicle and shows the consumption ratings for city and highway driving and provides you with an estimate of that vehicle's yearly fuel cost.
It likely comes as no surprise that in general the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the engine, the larger the fuel consumption. So if you don't need the cargo room, towing capacity, or extra passenger space on a regular basis, go with smaller vehicle; you'll save money in the long run on gas. It all comes down to buying what you need.
Manual or automatic: that is the question
A manual transmission is generally more fuel-efficient than an automatic. When used properly, a manual transmission can save you five to 10 per cent in fuel compared to the automatic counterpart.
If you don't know how to drive a manual, there are choices you can make with respect to your automatic transmission that will help you save. A:
- 4-speed overdrive transmission is 3 to 5 per cent more fuel efficient than a 3-speed, and
- 5-speed automatic can improve fuel efficiency by another 3 per cent over a 4-speed
Front, rear, four or all-wheel drive?
If you have a choice between a two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, choose the two-wheel drive; two-wheel drive vehicles are generally more fuel-efficient. Of your two-wheel drive options (front-wheel or rear-wheel) there's not much of a difference when it comes to fuel efficiency anymore (although at one time this wasn't the case.)
Four-wheel and all-wheel drive is less fuel efficient than a two-wheel drive vehicle. The additional parts needed, along with the extra power required from the engine to operate these types of vehicles can increase the fuel consumption up to 10 per cent over what you would use with a two-wheel drive vehicle.
Weigh your options
Did you know that power seats add anywhere from 40 to 60 kilograms in weight to your vehicle? Add to this the extra drag and power needed from the engine for your remote car starter, air conditioner, roof rack, heated seats, and other options like these and your car's fuel consumption increases. They not only make your vehicle heavier, but they also drain extra power from your engine which means that you need more fuel to operate it.
Dare to compare
We admit it; dare to compare is not about buying a fuel efficient vehicle and it comes from us here at Kanetix (not Natural Resources Canada), but if the driving force-pun intended-for purchasing a fuel efficient vehicle is to save some cash, then you can't ignore the opportunities to save on your car insurance. When looking to buy a new fuel-efficient car, compare more than just sticker prices and fuel consumption ratings, compare car insurance quotes too. Because what's the point of saving money on gas, if you're only going to overpay for your insurance? Don't overpay for your insurance, compare quotes each and every year.
In the market to buy a car? Don't forget to read: