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August 14, 2021

75 ways to save on gas

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

With gas prices once again hovering around $1.00 per litre, long weekend treks and other August road trips are starting to cost serious money. But there are many things you can do, aside from simply running out and buying a more fuel efficient car, that can help you trim your gasoline expenses – no matter what type of vehicle you drive.

The search for optimum gas mileage is called "hypermiling," and while some of its techniques – like driving behind tractor-trailers to ride in their slipstream or doing 90 km/h on the 401 – are a bit extreme, there's lots of room for savings in between.

Here are several strategies you can use to get better gas mileage right away, according to, the online car shopping and data site.

1.    Follow the recommended maintenance
2.    Keep your tires properly inflated
3.    Lighten the vehicle load
4.    Don't drive aggressively
5.    Use the highest gear possible
6.    Turn on the cruise control
7.    Keep your car clean
8.    Avoid excessive idling
9.    Reassess using air conditioning
10.  Combine your errands.  

Need more? Check out Jim Davidson’s handy book 75 Ways To Save Gas. One way to save is not driving with a full tank, he says, since the gas itself is heavy and taxes the engine, making it work harder and burn more fuel. 

Longer term, to see if you’re making progress, think about monitoring your average fuel use. Forget about manufacturers’ claims though. They use professional drivers on closed courses and are really only useful when it comes to comparing different models of cars. 

Here’s a good way to start, courtesy of Ecomodder, a site that offers tons of do-it-yourself strategies for modifying existing automobiles to make them more efficient.

Thankfully, many newer vehicles have a handy computer that tallies fuel efficiency for you. Honda’s new Insight, for instance, comes equipped with something called an Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist). The system uses a two-tier instrument cluster to help you assess your driving habits. 

The speedometer’s background color changes depending on how you're driving — green for light acceleration and cruising, blue for tough-on-gas acceleration and braking. Then it's up to you.

So, what do you do when trying to save on gas?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...