Building Futures Network

Running on empty – cutting your car's operating costs

One of the easiest ways to cut the cost of running your car is to leave it in the driveway. If possible, use public transit, walk, or bike. Try to car pool instead of driving alone.

If you must drive, here are six more ways to save on gas, and five ways to cut your insurance costs:

Saving on gas

  1. Don’t idle your car or waste gas “warming it up.” An idling car wastes about four litres of gas every 15 minutes. For that reason, avoid travelling during rush hour. Sitting in traffic wastes gas. And it pollutes the air, too.
  2. Plan shopping trips to save driving. Don't backtrack or make repeat trips.
  3. Don’t speed – it reduces gas mileage.
  4. Fill up when the price of gas is low. Buy less when prices are high.
  5. Use steel-belted radial tires for better gas mileage and keep them properly inflated. Also, keep your tires properly balanced for better wear and longer life.
  6. Let the breeze from an open window cool your car. Only use your air conditioner when you need it.

Saving on car insurance:

  1. Take advantage of discounts. For example, you may get special rates for low mileage driving or senior rates. Many firms will give you a discount if you insure your home and car with the same company.
  2. See if you qualify for a group insurance plan. Alumni associations, automobile clubs, and professional organizations can often get reduced rates for their members.
  3. You can lower your monthly insurance costs by choosing a higher deductible. This is the amount of damage you will cover yourself if you ever have an accident.
  4. Make sure your insurance covers your needs and no more.
  5. Drive carefully. A bad driving record can raise your insurance costs.
Discover more ways to save.