Vancouver (one of the high cost of living places in the world because of ridiculous real estate prices) has a goal to be one of the greenest cities in the world by 2020. Therefore they have been hiking the gas prices as a way to discourage people to drive. Recently the prices have been AT LEAST $1.60/Litre (which is almost $6 per gallon) and I have been curious as to why the %$*%)@ the prices are so high. Vancouver has the top spot for North America’s highest gasoline prices. I wanted to save money on gas.
Here’s the tax breakdown if you’re curious, they recently increased the taxes in April 2018. There’s a $0.078 Carbon tax, a $0.17 motor fuel tax for Translink (the public transportation in British Columbia), at $0.0675 BCTFA tax, among others. In total, Vancouverites who pay at the pump pay $0.3328 in taxes for every LItre that they fill up on. For the rest of the province outside of the Greater Vancouver area, it is $0.2228 in taxes. That’s a lot of tax!
Therefore I wanted to think about ways that I could save money on gas in Vancouver. Here’s what I found.
I used to have this app downloaded on my phone when it first came out but somehow deleted it from my phone and never used it again until recently. It has come a long way from the early days and boy, is it useful!
Even the website gasbuddy.com is useful. You can see the prices of gas stations wherever you are and therefore find the closest gas station with the cheapest gas price.
In addition, you can also compare your average (Vancouver, BC) to the average of Canada and United States. It is very depressing looking at the gas prices of Vancouver, BC (which by the way, is creeping up to $1.59/Litre!). Gas prices in Vancouver are RIDICULOUS. It is almost $6.00/Gallon in Vancouver and the average US price per gallon is around $2.88/Gallon. That’s at least double the national average of the United States.
Car Share Instead
I personally use a car share when I don’t want to pay for expensive parking in downtown but using a car share and getting rid of your car for good is a great way to save money on gas! That’s if you live in a city that has a good transportation system and car shares available (and if you live in the city and it is easy for you to get around). I personally used Car2Go but I haven’t used it lately because getting around with a baby in a Car2Go is a recipe for high charges.
The charges (per minute or per day charge depending on the car sharing company) include insurance and include gas. Sometimes if you fill up the gas tank you can get free minutes (they have to incentivize people somehow to help maintain the vehicles, I suppose).
Don’t Use your Car
Another way to save money on gas in an even more ‘extreme’ way than car sharing is to not use your car. Instead, walk, bike, or jog to your destination (of course this works if you don’t live in the suburbs and can get around easily within your city). My husband bikes 10 kilometres to work at least two times a week. You get in your exercise and also your commute for the day, it’s a win-win in my books (except in my books I should really use my bike more!).
Optimize Your Gas-Up Days
According to Gas Buddy, the BEST day to gas up and fill up your vehicle in most states is MONDAY or SUNDAY. I am going to extrapolate this data to Canada too haha since we are neighbours. Avoid Thursdays and avoid Saturdays, those are the worst days. Other days to ‘top up’ your tank (e.g. not the best day to fill up your tank but if you want to add a little to your tank it’s okay) are Tuesdays and Fridays. Gas Buddy analyzed three years of data to come up with this conclusion.
Go to Costco
On our most recent trip to the US (Bellingham) to go grocery shopping, we stopped by Costco. The line up was long (as they usually are) but the gas was so cheap. It cost us about $30 USD to fill up our SUV gas tank and the next time we maxed out our gas tank was back in Vancouver, which cost $80 CAD to fill up.
Even with the exchange rate, it is $38 CAD at Costco in Bellingham, which means we saved $42 filling it up in the states, like over 100%!
That number is ridiculous to me. The Costco in Bellingham is about an hour drive to get cheaper gas, something that I would find too tedious to do just to fill up gas, but if it included a big grocery shop then it may be worth it.
Business Insider says Costco is known for their cheaper gas and don’t have as much markup on their gasoline prices because of the membership fees. It seems like many people become Costco members just for the cheap gas. Too bad there’s no Costco gas in the Canadian Costcos where I am.
Collect Points at the Gas Station
I used to collect Aeroplan points on my Esso gas ups but now that Aeroplan is no longer a partner of Esso, that point collecting is out the window. Starting in summer 2018, you can still collect additional PC Optimum points when you fill up at Esso and use your PC Financial Mastercard.
You will earn 10 PC Optimum points for every litre of fuel that you spend at Esso stations.
Buy a Hybrid or Electric Car
I was thisclose to getting a Prius C Hybrid for my last car but didn’t end up getting the Prius because of the cost and the small trunk size. We rented a Prius through Turo (Like Airbnb for rental cars) when we drove around the island of Oahu and boy, it cost very little to fill up the thank. I think we only spent $5 on gas for the whole day for the Prius. We also rented a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and it was great to drive too and very economical on gas. I think for the next car I will probably think more seriously about getting a Hybrid.
Readers, how much is gas ($Price/Litre or $Price/Gallon) where you are? (1 Gallon is 3.79 Litres)
Do you have any ways that you like to save on gas?
Would you drive 1 hour to save money on gas?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.
19 thoughts on “7 Ways to Save Money on Gas: Pay Less at the Pump”
Hi GYM, the gas price in central Ohio is around US$ 2.70/gallon. It has been very reasonable in the last 10 years. On the other hand, I’m probably spoiled, and usually don’t think much about the gas expenses. $6.00/gallon is way too high.
@Helen- Thanks for sharing your gas price in Ohio and for visiting! You probably don’t use the car too much in retirement since there’s no commute!
Gas is about $3.40 here in Oregon. That’s not too bad. I usually fill up just once per month so it’s not really worth it for me to stress too much about getting cheap gas. Even driving 10 miles to get gas at Costco is not worth it for me. It’s out of the way and I’ll spend an hour that I could do something better with. Just to save less than $3.
Anyway, I think gasoline is $2/liter in Iceland so you’re not paying that much compare to them. 🙂
@Joe- Once a month fill up is really good! I’m on parental leave and it’s been about every 3 months fill up haha (and my car battery died about 4 times on mat leave). Usually, it’s twice a month. Gasoline in Iceland was so expensive! Did you like the unsupervised gas pump locations? (I remember pumping up the gas with no one there at one location)
About $2.75 a gallon where I live GYM. We use gas buddy to find the lowest price in our area. Living in a major US metro area, I feel like our costs are high, but nothing like Vancouver from the sounds of it. What do people do for a living in Vancouver to allow them to afford it? Not everyone can be an investment banker or CEO, right? Tom
@Tom- I think I am the only PF blogger who doesn’t use gas buddy regularly (unless I remember to). Will definitely get on that. Hah, Vancouver is full of drug dealers (fentanyl), weed stock owners, corruption money, and real estate millionaires (I am half joking). I don’t think there are that many investment bankers in Vancouver.
Oh wow $6 a gallon, that is too high! Hopefully that will go down once the summer months are over.
I mainly get gas at Costco but lately with the long lines to get gas can get discouraging. So I have been looking at GasBuddy too for cheap gas around our area and it’s not much more expensive than Costco and plus we don’t have to wait in a long line. Just yesterday I got gas around at $3.65 gallon by our place compared to $3.39/gallon at the nearest Costco.
@Kris- I doubt it will go down it’s the inherent tax embedded within the gas price. Our mayor wants Vancouver to be very environmental. He will be leaving by the end of this year though so that might bring some change. Cool that you use Gas Buddy! I don’t have it downloaded as an app yet so I should probably get on that.
One hour!? I wouldn’t drive an extra 5 minutes. 🙂
Do you guys have Waze? It has features that lets you search for gas stations that are nearby and lets you enter (and see) gas prices just like GasBuddy.
@Jim Wang- Lol. I would definitely not JUST go for gas, but to lump it with groceries. Dairy is so cheap in the US too and basically all groceries.
I haven’t heard of Waze, I’ll definitely look into that, thanks!
This is a nice list! Honestly gas prices are going up everywhere but some places are still cheap. Costco is my favorite place to go to because it’s $3.25/gl for premium while other places are at $3.84/gl for premium. Yikes. My budget will definitely not last if I don’t go Costco.
@Melanie- That’s not bad for Hawaii prices because I remember gas in Hawaii being very high. Thanks for another confirmation that Costco gas is cheap! Too bad there’s no Costco gas in Canada.
Crazy to think how much a difference it is down here in Washington, and yes, we definitely fill up at Costco! That and not driving a ton (outside of weekend trips) certainly help keep our gas costs reasonable.
@Angela- Thanks for the confirmation that Costco is where it’s at!!
Crazy the price of gas, I wish my stock would go up as much.
Definitely wouldn’t drive one hour!
I use the app but it’s not always up to date:(
@Caroline- So crazy the price of gas! But good for my HSE (Husky) and SU (Suncor) stocks I suppose. Oh good to know that the app is not always up to date! That’s annoying driving across town for a cheap gas price only to find prices are wrong!
This is a nice list! Honestly gas prices are going up everywhere but some places are still cheap.I’m probably spoiled, and usually don’t think much about the gas expenses. $6.00/gallon is way too high.
Nice Post. How about saving your fuel in a Fuel storage bladder or tank instead of going to gas station every now or then. As it is Handy and convenient.
This is a nice list! To be honest, gas prices are going up everywhere. Check out our article that we just posted. https://comparewise.ca/car-finance/how-to-save-on-gas-in-canada/