Hitting the road this summer? Here are 8 tips to help you save money on gas

·6 min read

Summer is finally here, and not a moment too soon! And that means it’s time to pack up your vehicle, fire up your favourite playlist (it’s your trip, you can cry if you want to), and hit the open road. But if prices at the pump have you second-guessing your summer plans, we feel you.

A summer road trip is a treasured annual tradition, right up there with BBQs, fireworks and pool parties—so don’t let high gas prices and rising travel costs hit the brakes on your vacation.

From the best days of the week to fill up to easy ways to earn cash back on every tank, we’ve partnered with CIBC to create a handy guide to help you save money on fuel this summer. Whether you’re headed to the cottage, visiting family, or just looking to get out there and enjoy the ride, here’s how to make every cent count.

1. Fill up on a Wednesday, not Friday

MONT-TREMBLANT, QUEBEC, CANADA, - SEPTEMBER 13, 2018: Male hand refuel a red car with gasoline at a gas station, close-up.
Photo via Getty Images

With so many other items to check off your pre-trip to-do list, the impulse is strong to leave fuelling up til the last minute. Like, say, Friday afternoon, right before hitting the road. Don’t. Fridays tend to be the worst day to fill up, as gas prices typically rise ahead of the weekend. (Especially long weekends.)

Instead, plan ahead and top up your tank mid-week—giving you one less task to take care of when you’re loading up the car to leave.

2. Make every dollar go further with a cash back credit card

Woman making credit card payments from smartphone
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Any time you can earn cash back on a purchase you were going to make anyway, you’re coming out ahead—and the rewards can really add up with the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card. With 4% cash back on eligible gas and groceries, plus up to 2% on everything else, the Dividend Visa Infinite offers a higher percentage on gas than any of the other big five banks†, with no limits on the total amount of cash back you can earn†.

Plus, right now, new cardholders will receive a rebate on their first annual fee, as well as a hefty welcome bonus: 10% cash back on your first four statements on net purchases of up to $2,000†.

Pro tip: If you want to get really savvy, link your CIBC Dividend card with your free Journie Rewards account for great savings. With CIBC and Journie Rewards, you’ll save up to 10 cents per litre at participating Pioneer, Fas Gas, Ultramar and Chevron stations†. Combine that with the 4% cash back you’re already earning on eligible gas purchases by paying with your Dividend Visa Infinite, and you’re getting one of the best possible savings at the pump not just this summer, but year-round.

3. Hit that cruise button

The driver presses the cruise control button on the car steering wheel with his hand
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Want to get more kilometres out of every tank? Put on cruise control.

All those little speed-ups and slow-downs from keeping your foot on the pedal may not seem like much, but they change the momentum of your vehicle, which burns more fuel. Handing that over to your car’s cruise control system smooths out the drive, making it more efficient, and using less gas. The same goes for hard stops and quick starts—avoid those for better mileage (and less cranky passengers!).

4. Check your tires

Woman inflates the tire. Woman checking tire pressure and pumping air into the tire of car wheel. Car maintenance service for safety before travel. Tire inflating point. Filling air in the tyre of car
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Low tire pressure increases friction between your tire and the road, reducing your mileage. That’s why it’s wise to check your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure they’re properly inflated—and absolutely essential before heading on a road trip.

If your tires look low, make a pit stop to fill them up at your nearest Journie Rewards-participating gas station while you send your co-pilot in for snacks. And don’t forget to give them your Dividend Visa for the cash back.

5. Lighten your load

Happy african-american family with backpacks coming to the weekend house. Father and daughter are closing the trunk of the car
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One major benefit of driving vs. flying is not having to cram everything into a carry-on to avoid checked baggage fees, but you’ll still want to pack thoughtfully. The lighter your vehicle, the less fuel the engine has to burn to keep it moving, so try not to load up your car with unnecessary weight, and take a peek around to see if there’s anything you can do without.

If you have roof racks or a bike rack that you don’t plan on using on your trip, remove those as well. Not only will it lighten your ride, it’ll also reduce drag and save fuel.

6. Get your vehicle serviced before you go

Close up shot of car mechanic using laptop computer for error tracing and diagnostic.
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Putting out for fresh motor oil, clean filters, and a properly-tuned engine before you leave will save you a not-insignificant amount on fuel in the long run. It’ll also help reduce the chance of a breakdown or tow on your trip. Win-win!

7. Be mindful of your AC

Man hand set the temperature of air conditioner in the car. Driver turning on car climate control system. travel by car. Close up view with selective focus.
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It’s tempting to blast the air conditioning whenever you want, especially during a summer heat wave, but that puts more strain on your engine, burning – you guessed it – more fuel.

If you have a larger vehicle that isn’t very aerodynamic, you’re probably better off opening the windows instead of using AC. With smaller, more aerodynamic cars, AC is the better option for cooling down, since you’ll increase drag by cracking your windows on the highway. Either way, if the temperatures inside your vehicle are approaching subarctic levels, it’s probably time to give the AC (and your engine) a break.

8. Drive during off-peak hours

Driving an SUV on a rural freeway in the USA.
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Battling stop-and-go traffic is no one’s idea of fun, especially on a long drive. If you can plan your itinerary so you’re driving when there’s less traffic on the road, it’s not only a win for your stress levels, but your gas budget too.

Early or late mornings and after the evening rush hour are typically the least-congested times to drive. And while traffic is sometimes unavoidable, it’s always wise to steer clear of leaving for your trip during the morning rush or from 4 PM onwards (especially on a Friday or the day before a long weekend) if you can. When it comes to cutting costs on gas, every little bit helps.

Looking to save more at the pump year-round? Visit cibc.com to apply for the CIBC Dividend Visa, then be sure to link your CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card to Journie Rewards to maximize your savings.

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