Here's how to save money at the pumps this summer as gas prices are set to remain high

Gas prices dropped to about 80 cents a litre 15 months ago when cars were parked and many people were working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fast forward to the summer of 2021 and fuel prices in some parts of the country have more than doubled and the key reason is demand.

“Demand is going through the roof. Many of us are taking to the roads, especially in the United States, so we are seeing prices go back to where they were prior to the pandemic," explained Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy.

Regular fuel in Toronto was selling for $1.31 a litre at several gas stations Friday. And while prices have been creeping up steadily in the Greater Toronto Area, it’s not nearly as high as in B.C., where drivers in Victoria are paying $1.73 a litre for regular fuel and almost $2 a litre for premium.

Moreover, McTeague says that prices in the GTA are expected to rise another four cents a litre this weekend and even more throughout the summer months.

“We are looking at a net increase of eight cents a litre [by August], so we will be back to $1.43 to $1.44 a litre, something we haven't seen since 2012 and even further," said McTeague.

With no sign of relief at the pumps anytime soon, if you've got a road trip planned for your summer holidays, you'll want to maximize your fuel efficiency.

Here are some tips to try and increase your gas mileage by up to 30 per cent:

  • Before you go anywhere check the air in your tires.

“You want to start out by checking your tire pressure. Having tires with lower pressure than what is recommended on your door jamb sticker can affect fuel economy, along with performance and handling,” said Mike Quincy, auto editor with Consumer Reports.

  • If your roof rack isn't being used, remove it.

At highway speeds, more than 50 per cent of engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag so don't carry unneeded weight on the roof if you don’t have to.

  • Don't speed.

You’ll not only avoid getting a ticket, you'll save money on fuel. Consumer Reports found that reducing the speed of a Toyota RAV4 from 120 km/h to 100 km/h improved fuel economy by about three kilometres per litre.

Using cruise control, limiting your use of air conditioning, combining errands and trying to avoid idling can also help save you fuel.

Being a smooth driver can also help.

“The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you use. The goal should be to drive evenly and anticipate the movement of traffic. Smooth acceleration, cornering, and braking help extend the life of the engine, transmission, brakes and tires too,” said Quincy.

Also, don't pay extra for premium fuel if you don't have to. Only fill your car with premium fuel if your vehicle’s fuel filler door or owner’s manual indicates that you should. Some may say premium is required while others may say it’s recommended, which means it's optional.

McTeague said it's usually cheaper to buy gas between Monday and Thursday in the evening as many gas stations will often drop the price of gas by two to three cents a litre only to raise it back up once the weekend arrives.