Feeling pain at gas pumps? Cash-back credit cards and loyalty programs may help save money

Pick-up trucks are now some of the most popular vehicles in Canada, but over the past month some trucks owners are second guessing their vehicle choice when they pull up to the pumps.

Toronto resident Andrew said he was filling his truck in the city and that to fill up a full tank would cost him $170.

“I think it’s actually crazy these gas prices. Especially with a pickup truck. Mine has a 5.7 liter V8 engine and it guzzles gas,” Andrew said.

As more drivers look for ways to save money on fuel, the way people pay for gas and how they drive could help keep more money in their pockets.

Depending on the kind of credit or debit card people use, they could save a few dollars per fill-up according to the financial products comparison website RateHub.ca.

“Cash-back credit cards are great way to earn money at whatever gas station you use and you don’t want to miss out on the multiplier affect of savings using a loyalty card as well,” said co-CEO of RateHub.ca Alyssa furtado.

There are current credit card offerings from financial institutions that allow you to save anywhere from two to four per cent on gasoline purchases and loyalty programs from gas station can add to even more savings.

“Now at ESSO and Mobil you can use your PC Financial Optimum card and so now you can get those PC Optimum points at the pump. Petro Canada has loyalty programs you can take advantage of as well and they are in addition to any credit card you use,” said Furtado.

Along with using the best method of payment to get cash-back, points or discounts on fuel, you may also want to review your driving habits.

According to Consumer Reports, you should make sure your tires are properly inflated and if you have a roof top carrier or roof racks carrying items on top of your vehicle, remove it if you are not using it to reduce aerodynamic drag.

Watch your speed because in tests Consumer Reports found reducing the speed of a Toyota RAV4 from 120 kilometers per hour to 105 kilometers an hour improved fuel economy by two and half kilometers per litre.

“The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you use and if you drive smoothly, you’ll not only get better gas mileage but you’ll also extend the life of your engine transmission, brakes and tires,” said Consumer Reports Auto Editor Mike Quincy.

Keeping your vehicle well maintained can also help with your gas mileage and if you don’t need premium fuel don’t buy it. Check your owner’s manual if you’re not sure as the price of premium fuel at some gas stations in Ontario is now topping two dollars a litre.

Changing your driving habits and the way you pay for gas may not save you a lot, but with prices predicted to stay high for a considerable time, every little bit helps.

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