By Sheryl Smolkin
There is probably nothing more irritating than watching the meter on the gas pump when you are filling up your car with gas for the second or third time in a week. Depending on the car you drive and the distance you go, gas alone can cost you hundreds of dollars a week.
The average current prices reported by Natural Resources Canada on October 29th are noted below, but gas costs can vary significantly across the country or even around the block.
Regular gasoline: 124.4/litre
Mid-Grade gasoline: 137.5/litre
Premium gasoline: 137.6/litre
In theory, parking the car and taking public transit may be cheaper, but in practice there may not be dependable, affordable public transit available in your area. And once you have had the convenience of a car you will never willingly take strollers, packages and pets on the bus again.
Here are some ideas that will help you save money on gas.
- Limit your driving: Drive only when you must. Try and combine errands instead of making a separate trip every time you need something. Seriously consider whether grocery shopping in two or three places to save a few cents is worth the cost of gas.
- Carpool: Find someone to carpool with to and from work on Saskatchewan kijiji. People also look for and offer rides when they have an empty seat in the car on weekends. Your company may let you advertise on its intranet.
- Fuel efficient car: If you are in the market for a new car, check the fuel efficiency and ratings of various models that you like. We opted for a Diesel BMW last year and we regularly get 800-1000 km per tank when we drive to Ottawa to see our daughter. Hybrid cars can also save you money
- Maintain your car: Make sure your car is properly maintained. A well-cared for vehicle will run more efficiently and give you better mileage.
- Fill it up: Fill your car up each time so you don’t waste gas and time driving to and from the gas station putting in small amounts. Wait until you have a quarter tank but don’t push it much further, particularly in winter weather when you could be stranded if you run out of gas.
- Tires: Check your tires every few weeks and top up the tires to the recommended pressure for your automobile.
- Avoid idling: Turn off your car when you are waiting for someone.You get zero miles/gallon when you are idling.
- Use a GPS: In most cases a GPS will help you navigate and find the fastest and shortest route to where you are going. But consider whether the suggested route actually makes sense if you know traffic is particularly bad or your software hasn’t been updated recently.
- Use air conditioning sparingly: Air conditioning is a gas guzzler. In nice weather when you are travelling at lower speeds, open the windows and enjoy the fresh air.
- Keep records: Keeping meticulous records of what you spend and how many miles you drive will help you quickly spot changes in vehicle performance and focus on the goal of saving.
Finally, stay safe. You can find winter driving hints from the CAA Saskatchewan here.
Do you have any ideas for saving money on gas? Share your money saving tips with us at http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card. And remember to put a dollar in the retirement savings jar every time you use one of our money-saving ideas.
Beginning in January we will be mixing things up a bit, and in addition to blogs that discuss ways to save money so you can save more for retirement, we will be interviewing our favourite financial bloggers, reviewing books that will help you better manage your finances and rolling out a monthly Retirement Savings 101 series.
The team at Saskatchewan Pension Plan wishes you a happy, healthy holiday season.