Gas prices got you walking?

Spend less on your least favourite car costs: gas and car insurance

Gas prices have increased, Canada-wide, more than 20 per cent in the last year according to the latest from Statistics Canada. In Alberta specifically, the cost of gasoline is up almost 34 per cent while in Ontario gas prices increased 20.4 per cent.

Increasingly pinched at the pump, Canadians more than ever, are looking for ways to save on two of their least favourite car costs: gas and car insurance.

Save money at the pumps

Slow down
On most major Canadian highways the posted limit is 100 km/h. If you have a heavy foot and like to increase your cruising speed from 100 to 120 km/h, you are also increasing your vehicle's fuel consumption by about 20 per cent. Do you really want to buy 20 per cent more gas at today's prices? You also run the risk of getting a ticket for speeding which may affect what you pay in auto insurance.

Relax and enjoy the drive
If someone told you that you could save two or three minutes of your time by burning 25 per cent more fuel would you think it was worth it? Drivers with aggressive driving tendencies (like speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking), increase their fuel consumption by about 25 per cent. Consider as well that aggressive city driving only saves you about 2½ minutes on a 60 minute trip. It hardly seems worth it.

Minimize the "stuff" you keep in your car
Too often cars become a storage room. While it may seem convenient, it's estimated that for every additional 100 pounds in your vehicle you are likely reducing the mileage you get per tank by 1-2 per cent.

Not driving? Turn off the car
You get 0 kilometres per litre if your car is idling. You're not going anywhere, but you're using up costly gas. Instead of idling at a drive-up window, why not park the car and go in? Not only is it often faster, but idling in a line for longer than 10 seconds burns more gas than restarting the engine.

Idle for more than 10 minutes a day and you'll find that you use about five per cent more fuel every year.

Keep your car maintained and running smoothly
Your car was designed with certain minimum requirements for optimal operation and when these minimums are not met your fuel-efficiency suffers. Consider:

  • Your tires. Keeping your tires properly inflated helps your car run efficiently. So much so that properly inflated tires can save you up to two weeks worth of gas each year.
  • Your motor oil. Improve your gas mileage by 1-2 per cent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil—use anything else and you're not getting all you can from your car.

Save money on your auto insurance

While saving money at the pumps is something you can do every week, the following tips will ensure you have the tools needed to maximize your insurance savings too.

Shop around
Rates can vary wildly between insurers. Only by shopping around for auto insurance and getting quotes from several insurance companies will you know you are getting your car insurance coverage at the best available rate. Don't pay more than you have to for the car insurance you need. Compare your car insurance rates and coverage on an annual basis, at minimum.

Select a higher insurance deductible
Policyholders with deductibles set to $500 could save up to 5 per cent by raising them to $1,000. Keep it affordable though because this is how much you'll have to cover should you need to submit a claim.

Don't pay for optional coverage you do not need
Review your policy to see if there are optional coverages or features included in your current policy that you may not need. For example, if you drive an older car you may no longer want collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, or both.

Consider the cost of paying monthly
You could save money by paying your annual premium all at once, instead of setting up a monthly payment plan. Many companies will charge you a little extra to cover the cost of administering your payments every month.

Drive safely
OK, this last one is obvious but true. Drivers with no accidents or tickets almost always pay less for their auto insurance coverage. Your driving record is one of the key factors in determining your insurance rate and tickets and at-fault accidents can affect your insurance rate for years. With a less than perfect driving record, you can find yourself paying much higher insurance premiums.

It all adds up

Start saving today. shops the market to help you find the lowest rate and get the auto insurance coverage you need. Compare quotes today, because it's the only way to know that you're getting the best deal on car insurance.

Gas-saving tips list compiled from information found on the websites for Natural Resources Canada and the U.S. Department of Energy.

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