Watching the gas tank? That’s hardly fuelish behaviour

Summer is a great time of year to get in your car and go for a nice, long drive.

Of course, that means filling up your vehicle’s fuel tank a few times to be able to enjoy it. Gas prices aren’t getting any cheaper, but there are ways you can cut your fuel bill without sacrificing your love of being behind the wheel.

Most people know that driving slower can help save gas. Of course, you need to obey the speed limit, which also means you can’t drive too slowly and risk having a line of cars honking behind you. If you’re on the highway, driving 100 kilometres an hour instead of 120 km/h will, according to experts, help to reduce your fuel consumption by about 15 per cent.

Using cruise control on a long stretch of road with a consistent speed limit is also a great way to conserve gas. Cruise control prevents you from regularly switching between hitting the gas pedal and the brakes, which increases gas consumption.

It can be hard to not put on the car’s air conditioning during the summer months, but using it sparingly can also help reduce gas usage. The AC puts more pressure on the engine, which in turn uses more fuel.

Having sand bags in your vehicle is a good idea during the winter months, especially if you’re driving on icy roads, but you might consider removing them, and any other heavy items, during the summer. The heavier your load, the more gas your vehicle will need to run.

Idling is not only bad for the environment, it also means your car is using more gas. If you’re stopped somewhere for more than a minute, such as a railway crossing or while waiting to pick up your kids from school, consider shutting off the car. Experts say restarting the car uses less fuel than letting it idle for one minute.

Keeping your car well maintained, including making sure the tires are properly inflated, dirty air filters are cleaned and spark plugs aren’t worn out, is another great way to conserve gas. Of course, another way is to purchase a fuel-efficient vehicle. Whether you can get away with a smaller car, or need a minivan or sport utility vehicle, there’s a make and model with increased fuel efficiency options. That includes hybrids, as well as the increasingly popular electric vehicles that we’re starting to see more of on the road today.

We all love our cars. We may not like the rising gas prices, but there are ways to make filling up at the pump less painful.
For more tips on how to save gas, Natural Resources Canada has come up with its fuel-efficient five tips, which you can find at, or type in “Fuel-efficient driving techniques” on your favourite computer search engine.

Happy driving. And saving.

Blair Qualey is president and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected]

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