1 Don’t waste your money on premium gas. While cars from the 1980s or earlier can benefit from higher octane levels, newer cars are built to perform efficiently on regular fuel. “Unless specified in your owner’s manual, regular fuel is what you need,” says the Canadian Automobile Association’s Paul Datzkiw. “Higher octane fuel won’t help you with emission tests, fuel economy or performance.”
2 You can anticipate price hikes. Find out if the price at the pump is about to rise by going to TomorrowsGasPriceToday.com. The site bases its predictions on weekly industry reports that measure crude oil inventory and refinery output levels. And while it’s true that prices rise in the summer, Roger McKnight of energy-price specialists En-Pro International says they don’t generally go up before long weekends. Mid-week is actually the priciest time because that’s when dealers eliminate discounts they brought in to beat competitors.
3 My competitor is cheaper. One place that has consistently lower gas prices is Costco, although you’ll need a $55 membership. You can also check out GasBuddy’s mobile app and website for prices at stations across North America. “If you have an SUV with an 80-L tank, you can easily pay six cents less a litre, which saves you about $5,” says co-founder Jason Toews.
4 If you see the tanker truck, go to another station. Sediment sitting at the bottom of a station’s tank moves around when they replenish the fuel, and it can cause problems if it gets into your fuel pump. “If the tanker’s filling the tanks at the same time you need gas, go to a different station,” says Datzkiw.
5 Don’t squeeze out the last drops. If the tank shuts off while you’re filling up, don’t keep pumping. You need to give the fuel room to expand, or it may go into areas it shouldn’t and cause costly damage. “Don’t squeeze in the extra 50 cents. You don’t need it and you could be doing harm,” says Datzkiw.