In your car:
1. Don't speed. When you drive at more than 90 kilometres an hour, your fuel efficiency decreases. Cars are most fuel efficient when operating between 60 and 70 kilometres per hour.
2. Plan your route. Combine errands and try to avoid heavy traffic areas and road construction to save fuel.
3. Watch your weight. Remove unnecessary items from your car. An extra 100 pounds can increase your fuel and usage costs by two per cent.
4. Turn it off. Shut off/unplug all power-sucking accessories, such as phone chargers, air conditioning and the radio, before turning off your car. This decreases the engine load for the next time you start your vehicle, and will use less gas.
5. Reduce idling. Any more than 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine. If you're not stopped in traffic, turn off your engine.
6. Check your tire pressure. Under-inflated tires reduce fuel efficiency. If every light-duty vehicle in Canada had properly inflated tires, we could save a total of about 643 million litres of fuel a year.
7. Make the most of your transmission. For manual transmissions, shift gently but quickly into higher gears, where your engine works more efficiently and uses less fuel. For automatic transmissions, use the overdrive gear at high speed to reduce your engine's workload, which saves fuel and cuts down on engine wear.
8. Get regular tune-ups. Ensuring your car is in top shape will reduce the likelihood of repairs, and will save fuel.
9. Use other options. Carpool, walk, bike or take public transit.
10. Work from home. Talk to your employer about working from home one day a week, or more if possible, to help reduce your use of gasoline.
11. Don't be an aggressive driver. Hard breaking increases fuel consumption by up to 40 per cent.
12. When driving on the highway, use cruise control. This saves on fuel by keeping your speed constant.
Page 1 of 2 – See Page 2 for more tips on how to save energy and money.
In your home:
13. Clean or replace your furnace's filter every two to three months. You'll help the environment and save as much as 10 per cent on your heating bill. Tip: Clean or change your filter each time you pay your bill.
14. Try high efficiency. A mid-efficiency furnace operates at 80 per cent efficiency, meaning 20 cents of each dollar goes to waste. New furnaces work at more than 90 per cent.
15. Install a programmable thermostat. Lowering the temperature at night and while you're sleeping or away could save another 10 per cent on your heating bill.
16. Upgrade an older furnace. You will save a lot of money on your heating bill and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
17. Don't heat what you don't use. Make sure you're not heating uninsulated, unihabited spaces such as garages and crawl spaces. Keep your garage door closed as much as possible, and close doors to rooms you don't use.
18. Fix poorly fitted windows. Up to 30 per cent of the heat in your home can be lost through windows and doors. Caulking just one window that's over 10 years old can save you five to 10 per cent in heating costs.
19. Improve on insulation. It's one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to cut down on your heating bill. Consider your options. In some provinces you can choose how you purchase natural gas.
20. Buy a programmable thermostat. It will help make setting temperatures easy and automatically save energy at night and when you are away from home.
21. Lock in at lower prices. Many Canadians choose to lock in their prices with a natural gas retailer for up to five years. By doing so, you don't experience the ups and downs we often see in natural gas prices, which can be a real lifesaver when the bill arrives.
This story was originally titled "Save on Fuel" in the April 2009 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!
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