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BMO Bank of Montreal

April 05, 2012 10:06 ET

High Gas Prices Could Go Higher Still-BMO

BMO provides advice on how to save on travel costs this long weekend

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 5, 2012) - The risk of gas prices reaching more than $1.60 per litre in Canada is not insignificant, according to BMO Economics. Gas prices are up sharply in many areas across the country - climbing as much as 3.6 cents in Ontario to nearly $1.40 per litre, and reaching $1.47 in parts of Quebec - ahead of the long weekend.

"Although crude oil prices are expected to hover near $100 a barrel in the year ahead, the risk of a near-term spike is elevated due to potential supply disruptions," said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

"The rising cost of imported overseas oil, together with a shortfall in domestic pipeline capacity, has forced about one-third of U.S. East Coast refineries to halt operations; meanwhile, the Iranian situation could disrupt oil shipments in the Strait of Hormuz, a key route for one-fifth of globally traded oil. This would likely push crude prices back to 2008's high of $147 a barrel."

"To manage household budgets, we recommend Canadians make full use of their rewards programs, many of which offer free fuel rebates. They are a very good way for Canadians planning to be on the road this holiday weekend to offset higher gas prices," said Su McVey, VP, BMO Bank of Montreal.

BMO provides these fuel savings tips, which are good for the pocketbook and the environment:

  1. Use credit card rewards to cut fuel costs. There are a variety of loyalty cash back programs that offer fuel rewards.

  2. Tune up before you head out. An engine that runs properly will burn fuel an average of four per cent more efficiently.

  3. Relax and enjoy the ride. According to The Canadian Automobile Association it takes 20 per cent more fuel to go the same distance at 120 km/h than it does at 100 km/h. Avoid speeding and use cruise control on longer stretches.

  4. Quit idling around. A few minutes of idling burns through more gas than turning your car off and on. Plan your route to avoid bottlenecks where possible so you don't have to sit in traffic for long periods. Unnecessary idling wastes fuel, costs you money and pollutes the air.

  5. Control the car climate wisely. Air conditioning can drain your gas tank and so can driving with the windows open. Keep your car cool by parking in the shade, and on cool mornings and evenings, just use the car fan to keep air flowing inside the vehicle.

  6. Slow mo is the way to go. Fill your tank slowly by easing up on the gas nozzle trigger. Turbulence from faster-flowing gas entering your tank will create gas vapours that your engine can't use and that will ultimately escape from your tank.

  7. Keep your tank full. Gasoline that sloshes around in the empty space in your tank tends to vaporize and eventually leaks away.

  8. Keep your tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires waste gas. You can improve your car's fuel economy by up to three per cent simply by inflating tires to the proper pressure. Be sure to check your alignment, too.

Bonus tip: Roadside assistance plans can save you money. Most plans cover towing, battery boost or flat tire change, but they also limit the number of service calls per year. BMO Bank of Montreal MasterCard's enhanced roadside assistance package includes unlimited service calls, up to 250 km towing distance, and free coverage for additional cardholders ($98/year).

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