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12 tips for reducing your car expenses

December 5, 2023

The cost of owning a vehicle is rising due to many factors, including inflation, pump prices, interest rates, inventory shortages and unprecedented dealership delivery times. But you can save a lot by changing your driving habits and making informed choices. Here are a few examples of what you can do. 

Shift to fuel-efficient driving techniques

1. Reduce your speed

The faster a car is moving, the more air resistance it encounters. As a result, the engine needs to work harder (and burn more fuel) to maintain the car's speed. Generally speaking, every kilometre over 100 km/h increases gas consumption by 1%1.

2. Accelerate gently and maintain a steady speed

When your car is stopped, it takes a lot of power to get it up to the speed you want. That's why accelerating during city driving accounts for 60% of your gas consumption.2 If you're going from one traffic light or stop to another, think about limiting how much you accelerate. Accelerating from 0 km/h to 50 km/h consumes 4 times as much gas as accelerating from 0 km/h to 25 km/h.

This is also why sudden dips and bursts can be expensive. If you continually increase and decrease your speed between 75 km/h and 85 km/h every 18 seconds, your fuel consumption can increase by more than 20%2. On rural roads or highways, turn on the cruise control to keep moving at a steady pace when conditions permit.

3. Open the windows or turn on the AC, depending on where you are

When you drive in town, roll the windows down. This can reduce your fuel consumption by 20%3. On the highway, do the opposite. Having open windows on the highway makes your car less aerodynamic, which can lead to even more fuel consumption.4

4. Don't idle 

Turn off the engine if you have to stop the car for more than a minute, except when you're in traffic. A car with a 2-litre engine consumes about 1.2 litres of fuel for every hour it idles.1 In the winter, don't keep the car running just so you can have the heat on — you'll have plenty of time before your car's cabin temperature starts to drop. In the summer, park in the shade and open the windows as soon as you get in the car.

5. Take the most eco-friendly route   

Several online trip planners now offer eco-friendly routing. They use artificial intelligence to estimate carbon emissions based on traffic, road incline and other variables, and then recommend the route that will lead to the lowest fuel consumption.5

Keep your vehicle in good condition

6. Do regular maintenance on your vehicle  

If you forget to change the oil, clean a clogged air filter or replace a spark plug, the engine might not work properly and it may guzzle up to 20% more fuel.6 When it comes to changing your oil, be sure to use the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil to reduce your fuel consumption by 1% to 2%.7

7. Keep your tires properly inflated 

Under-inflated tires wear out faster and create more resistance, which means they negatively impact efficiency. Tires that are underinflated by 4 psi (pounds per square inch) or more can increase fuel consumption by up to 2%.8 Inflate your tires to the proper tire pressure (as indicated on the inner side of the car door) and check the tire pressure once per month as well as before long road trips.

Choose the appropriate method of transportation

8. Leave your car at home 

Is it absolutely essential to use your car? Whenever possible, use other methods of transportation such as walking, cycling and public transit. That way, you won't have to spend money on gas and you can protect your car from unnecessary wear-and-tear

9. Choose a vehicle that fits your everyday needs 

The most eco-friendly choice is driving a vehicle twith the right size, engine power and features for your usual needs, not your occasional ones. Do you drive through the mountains and on poorly maintained roads often enough that you really need a vehicle with 4-wheel drive? Because, on average, this type of system increases your gas consumption by 1 L/100 km.9

10. Choose a fuel-efficient vehicle 

Gas-powered vehicles

Compare models by checking out automative review guides as well as the most recent edition of Natural Resources Canada's Fuel Consumption Guide. Depending on where you live and how often you travel, you may want a vehicle that is more fuel-efficient for city driving, highway driving or both. 

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and all-electric vehicles

On average, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and all-electric vehicles cost 10% to 20% less per month than comparable gas-powered vehicles. And this is after taking into account the cost of the lease or loan on the vehicle. Once the vehicle has been paid off, the energy and maintenance savings are about 37% (for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and 75% (for all-electric vehicles) compared with equivalent gas-powered vehicles.10

Adopt smart financial habits

11. Bundle your home and auto insurance

In most instances, bundling your home and auto policies with the same provider can help you save more on your insurance 

12. Track your safe driving habits  

Many insurers offer usage-based insurance programs, like Ajusto® to help you track your safe driving habits and behaviours and enjoy a more personalized car insurance premium. Plus, you can get an automatic 10% discount on your car insurance for the first 6 months when you sign up for Ajusto today.









9 (in French only)


Ajusto® is a registered trademark of Desjardins General Insurance Inc. Ajusto is underwritten by Desjardins General Insurance Inc. The 10% discount is an enrollment discount. After 6 months, it will be replaced with a personalized premium, which can go up or down depending on your driving behaviours and habits. The discount and the personalized premium do not apply to certain endorsements or additional coverages.

Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc., provider of auto, property and business insurance.

These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.

Certain restrictions, exclusions and limitations may apply.

Desjardins®, Desjardins Insurance®, all trademarks containing the word Desjardins, as well as related logos are trademarks of the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, used under licence.