If you’ve been refueling at the pump lately, you may be thinking of ways to get the most out of the expensive fuel tank.
As gas prices and inflation continue to skyrocket at PEI, CBC News sought advice from PEI Sustainability Director Derek Ellis, CAA Atlantics Steve Olmstead and driving instructor Joe Byrne on how to save money while driving.
1. Slow down
For those who want or need to keep driving, there are many ways to save money that can be added together – one of the most important is to slow down.
Not driving faster than the specified speed limit, which on PEI is usually 90 to 100 km / h, will save fuel, our experts said.
“Anything below that, where we can, is a good idea when it comes to saving fuel,” Olmstead said.
2. Accelerate gradually
Gradually accelerating from a stop instead of hitting the pedal is also a big gas saving. In fact, it is number one on the federal government’s list of tips on fuel-efficient driving techniques.
“To be as fuel efficient as possible, take five seconds to accelerate your vehicle up to 20 kilometers per hour from a stop. Imagine an open cup of coffee on the dashboard. Do not spill it!” says the site.
If your car is newer and shows fuel economy while driving, Ellis said you will soon see how much gas you waste was accelerating fast. He uses this feature in his vehicle to “play a game where you keep the figure, measured in liters per 100 kilometers, as low as possible while driving.”
Olmstead suggests that you not only start slower from a stop but also drive out to stops when it is safe.
3. Tire inflating
Having the right amount of air in your car’s tires can be another great fuel saving. Find the right number for your car’s tires on your car door or in your owner’s manual and add air to a gas station.
Invest in a manual tire pressure gauge and check your tires at least at the turn of the season, Ellis said. Byrne also does a visual inspection of its tires daily.
Remember to check the tire pressure when the tires are colder, at the beginning of an excursion.
4. Maintain your vehicle
Check and maintain fluids such as coolant and oil in your car, and maintain the engine, battery and transmission for optimal fuel economy, Byrne said.
Changing winter tires for spring at the right time will improve fuel consumption by reducing rolling resistance, Olmstead said.
Have your car inspected regularly by a mechanic to make sure it runs smoothly, he added. PEI imposes annual inspections of vehicles, so that the garage visit is already built-in.
5. Stop idling
Many newer vehicles will shut down automatically when you stop for a period of time, say at a light or in a drive-thru, Ellis points out.
“Every time you stop to drop someone off or pick someone up, I think you should turn off the engine – and realize that if the engine is on in an internal combustion vehicle and you are not moving, your fuel efficiency, your miles per gallon, is zero. “as bad as it can be,” said Ellis.
Byrne’s rule is that if you have to wait more than 10 seconds, turn off the car and you will save money. Look at the lights and you will see when you need to put your car back on, he said – but your car must be well maintained to start on a road like this.
6. Reduce the load and pull
Remove those golf clubs or bags of salt from the trunk and remove the roof and bike racks that increase resistance.
It can be a little inconvenient but pulling around them costs money.
7. Plan your trip
Travel planning is important to reduce gas: if you have multiple chores, Byrne said, make a trip with multiple stops instead of multiple trips with one stop each.
Also plan your route to reduce the amount of driving, think about traffic patterns at certain times of the day.
8. Change vehicle
Ellis strongly recommends that people who can afford to move to an electric or hybrid electric and gas vehicle to save money on fuel.
“You look at savings of 60 to 80 percent on fuel, your electricity versus gas,” he said.
He acknowledges that there is a shortage of electric vehicles on the market right now, with the wait of several months or more for some models due to covid-19 manufacturing declines and gas prices on PEI continue to drive strong demand.
There is also a higher initial cost of about $ 45,000 (and up) for a new electric vehicle.
PEI offers a $ 5,000 discount on new or used electric vehicles and a $ 2,500 discount on plug-in hybrids – and provides a free Level 2 charger. The federal government also provides an additional $ 5,000 discount for all new electric vehicles. About 400 islanders have used the incentive in the past year, Ellis said.
With electric and hybrid vehicles still more expensive than traditional gas-powered vehicles, you need more money in advance, but rising petrol prices will now see the cost pay off sooner. Ellis said he expects the price gap to narrow and be eliminated before the end of this decade.
“At that point, I think it will be a no-brainer for the majority of Islanders to make the switch,” Ellis said.
New programs to help more PEI companies install chargers for electric vehicles are underway, he added.
CAA also promotes electric cars, as the organization’s members are interested in more sustainable transportation, Olmstead said. The association offers test drives for members of electric vehicles.
9. Drive less
“If you want to dramatically reduce your fuel costs, driving less often will really have an effect,” said Ellis, who is responsible for PEI achieving its ambitious net zero targets.
“Using bicycles or walking is an obvious answer, although it is not always an option for people in the countryside or in the suburbs.”
To encourage islanders to drive less, the government has spent money in recent years on active transport – it is in year three of a five-year plan to spend $ 5 million a year on active transport projects – and recently expanded rural transit on PEI
Byrne, who has been a driving instructor for 12 years, says it is a great way to save by making more conscious decisions about driving a car. He notes that people in many places on PEI still can not live easily without a car, but the development of cycle paths has been a step in the right direction.