Owning a car isn’t cheap. But, there are ways you can spend less on the gas you need to run it and the insurance you need to drive it.

Save on Gas: Fuel-Efficient Driving Tips

How we drive when behind the wheel affects the fuel efficiency of the car, and Natural Resources Canada and the U.S. Department of Energy are chock-full of fuel-efficient driving tips.

If you're looking to save money by spending less on gas then you'll want to:

  • Avoid frequent fast acceleration and hard braking. It's estimated that this way of driving increases fuel consumption by about 37%.
  • Stick to the speed limit.On most major highways the posted limit is 100 km/h. However, if you’re driving at 120 km/h not only are you risking a ticket for speeding (which could increase your insurance rates) but you’re also using up 20% more fuel.

• Related Read: 10 Car Insurance Myths Debunked

  • Minimize the junk in your trunk. The lighter your car, the less fuel needed to keep it moving. It’s estimated that for every 25 kilograms (about 55 lbs.) of extra weight in your car, your fuel consumption will increase by 1%.
  • Avoid unnecessary idling. For every 10 minutes of idling, you’re using up at least one-quarter of a litre in fuel. Makes you re-think that long drive through window lineup for your morning cup of java, doesn’t it?
  • Turn off the A/C. Minimize how often you rely on air conditioning because it can increase your car’s fuel consumption by as much as 20%.
  • Measure your tire pressure monthly. Under-inflated tires not only increase the wear-and-tear on your tires but they also increase your fuel consumption by about 4%.
  • Remove roof cargo boxes and racks when not in use. Roof racks cause extra drag which means your car is working harder and using more fuel to keep moving. Depending on the shape of your roof rack and the items you’ve got stored, you could be increasing your fuel consumption by as much as 20% on the highway.

By keeping fuel efficiency in mind when you’re behind the wheel, it’s estimated you can save several hundred dollars a year in gas.

Save Money on Your Auto Insurance Too

Saving a few hundred dollars a year on gas is great, but you can save even more than that on your car insurance. How? By knowing when the time is right to shop around.

It's important to compare quotes regularly because car insurance rates often change; not just with your insurer, but all insurers. Your insurance provider may have offered you the best car insurance rate five years ago, two years ago or even last year, but they may no longer offer you the best deal today.

What does it mean to shop your car insurance rate regularly? Well, times when it makes sense to spot check your rates would include when:

  • It’s time to renew your policy
  • You get married (or divorced)
  • You move to a new neighbourhood
  • Buy a new set of wheels
  • Add new drivers to your policy, like a teen driver
  • Your driving record changes
  • You change jobs or retire

Basically, anytime you need to call up your current insurer to give them an update on your situation, is a good time to check that they’re still giving you the best rate out there. See if you could be saving money on your auto insurance. Compare car insurance rates today.

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