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LiveSmart BC

Tips to Save on Fuel

Transportation accounts for 36 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia, and is the single largest source of personal emissions for most people. There are plenty of ways to LiveSmart on the Road in B.C. You Choose, You Save.

Fuel Usage

Find out your vehicle's annual fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by visiting the Scrap-It BC vehicle emissions calculator.

10 Tips to Save on Fuel

  1. Increasing the tire pressure improves gas mileage at no cost.STAY TUNED UP AND PUMPED UP: If you regularly tune up your vehicle and maintain proper tire inflation you can reduce fuel consumption by 10 per cent. This will save the average driver $200 in fuel over a year.  A 20 per cent drop in tire pressure will increase fuel consumption by about 10 per cent. Check your tire pressure monthly and get your car tuned up after every 5,000 km.

  2. PICK UP A PACK OF FOUR LED TIRE PRESSURE LIGHTS: You know those little plastic caps you remove every time you pump up the tires? If you replace them with little light-up ones at least you'll never forget when it's time to pump up the pressure. The tiny computer inside each cap will register the optimal pressure level and light up when the pressure drops by as little as 4 psi, saving up to three per cent on fuel -- or $1.20 on a 40-litre fill-up -- over under-inflated tires.

  3. INSTALL A SCAN GAUGE: Learn how to drive your car more efficiently with real-time data from your car's engine with a scan gauge. It shows you how efficiently you're driving, helping you to improve your kilometres per litre and reduce costs. A scan gauge plugs into most cars and provides real-time trip data from your car's engine, including fuel economy and fuel rate. At the end of each trip you can review data including fuel used, trip fuel economy, driving time and average speed.

  4. SLOW DOWN: Reducing highway speed from 100 km/h to 90 km/h improves fuel economy by about 10 per cent and will save you $164 a year in fuel. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 50 per cent of the fuel consumed in city driving is used during acceleration. So reduce your acceleration to burn less fuel.

  5. IDLE LESS: Reducing idling by 10 minutes a day would save $52 in gas every year. When possible, consider turning your engine off when waiting to pick up friends or family at the airport, ferry, when shopping or picking up children from school.

  6. CARRY LESS: The more weight you carry in your car, the more fuel your vehicle burns. Avoid carrying heavy things you don't need like tools or roof racks.

  7. USE YOUR WINDOWS: By reducing how much you use air conditioning you can save fuel in the city or during low-speed driving.

  8. PLAN YOUR TRIPS: Try to combine errands to turn several small trips into one and avoid driving during peak rush hours when possible. It also helps to shop locally and to vacation close to home.

  9. PRACTICE SMART DRIVING HABITS: Aggressive driving - jackrabbit starts and short stops - reduces travel time by only four per cent (the equivalent of two and a half minutes out of a 60 minute trip), yet increases some toxic emissions by five times and fuel consumption by 37 per cent.

  10. CONSIDER OTHER TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS: You can walk, ride your bike, take the bus or car pool.


For Truckers

Trucking is a critical component of the BC economy. It supports our resource extraction and manufacturing sectors and delivers goods to market for import and export. Trucking also makes up a significant portion of our provincial greenhouse gas emissions, generating over six million tonnes every year, almost 10 per cent of all provincial emissions.

Based on fuel and carbon pricing in B.C., a five percent improvement in fuel economy is required by the average trucker to offset the cost of the carbon tax. There are several opportunities and technologies available to help truckers reduce fuel consumption. Some of these strategies on their own can produce fuel economy benefits that can offset the costs of the carbon tax. In combination, even greater fuel economy savings can be achieved.

  • Lower speeds result in lower aerodynamic drag - the table below illustrates Environment Canada’s estimates for fuel efficiency savings for a truck with a gross vehicle weight of 40900 kg. By reducing your highway speed by 15 kilometres per hour you will reduce your fuel consumption by up to 13 per cent, saving $5,600 per year.


Fuel efficiency

Per cent fuel that could be saved by travelling at 90 km/h

Cost savings by reducing speed to 90 km/h for 80,000 km

120 km/h 39 litres/100 km 26 per cent  $11,200
105 km/h 34 litres/100 km 13 per cent  $5,600
90 km/h 29 litres/100 km


  • Aerodynamic devices can further reduce drag - Aerodynamic devices can be installed on the top of the tractor, and the sides, undersides, and end of the trailer, to further reduce air resistance on trucks.  Depending on the types of devices and the travel speeds, aerodynamic devices can improve fuel efficiency by 5 to 10 percent, resulting in annual savings of $1,900.
  • Reducing unnecessary idling can reduce your fuel costs - the BC government is installing electrified truck stops at key locations for overnight stays, and newer engines don’t need excessive warm up and cool down times. Turning an engine off overnight can save up to $45 per night in fuel costs, potentially up to $3,000 per year.
  • Proper tire inflation is both more fuel efficient and safer - Under-inflated tires that are 10 psi under recommended levels can cause a 0.5 to 1 per cent loss in fuel economy. Under-inflated tires also lead to an increased risk for punctures and a shortened life of tire. A one percent decrease in fuel economy can translate into $375 a year in extra fuel costs.
  • Driving techniques can optimise engine performance - Progressive shifting (up-shift at the lowest rpm possible), block shifting ( 2nd to 5th gear), idle reduction, speed control, engine speed optimization, as well as the reduced use of cab accessories can improve fuel economy by five per cent or higher. A five per cent increase in fuel efficiency translates into fuel cost savings of $1,900.
  • Lightweight truck components can improve efficiency – Up to 1,500 kilograms can be removed from a truck through lightweight aluminium alloy parts for tractors and trailers. These include wheels, cab frames and trailer floor joists. The US EPA estimates maximum fuel savings of up to 1,900 litres per year, resulting in annual savings of $2,600.
  • Engine Additives can protect and optimise trucks - Low-viscosity synthetic or semi-synthetic lubricants flow more easily than mineral blends. These fluids can save up to $500 in fuel costs, with the opportunity for more savings due to reduced engine maintenance.


Summary of fuel saving strategies


Maximum Fuel Cost Savings

Reduce travel speeds by 15 km/h $5,600
Aerodynamic devices $1,900
Reduce unnecessary idling $3,000
Maintain optimal tire pressure $375
Driving techniques $1,900
Lightweight truck components $2,600
Engine additives $500
TOTAL $15,875


Take Transit Instead

Public Transit
The majority of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector come from car and truck traffic. Leaving your vehicle at home and taking public transit has an immediate and direct impact on greenhouse gas emissions. By getting just 40 vehicles off the road (the amount of people who will fit in one city bus), we can save over 10,000 litres of fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 tonnes each year.

Transit Tips

Taking the bus can be a convenient and affordable way to travel to and from work, and to get around your community. Listed below are a few tips to get you started and to make sure your trip is enjoyable. For more information, please contact your local transit agency. 

Bus Fares and Transfers

  • Fares can always be purchased on the bus with exact change. In some communities, fares vary based on how many "zones" you're travelling. Contact your local transit office for the current fares in your community.
  • In some communities, bus tickets (one-time tickets, day passes, books of 10 or 20, and monthly passes) can be purchased at drug, convenience and grocery stores at a discount from the regular fare. These tickets are convenient and reduce the amount of change you have to carry around.
  • Transfers allow users to switch bus routes to get to their final destination without paying multiple fares. Transfers are time limited, usually up to two hours. Most transfers are a separate ticket available on request from the bus driver at the start of your trip. In Metro Vancouver, the ticket you receive at the start of your journey also acts as your transfer.
  • The federal government offers a tax credit for monthly and annual bus passes. For more information on how to receive the credit please visit: Tax credits for public transit passes.

On the Bus

  • Have your fare ready when you get on the bus or be ready to display your entire monthly or daily pass to the driver.
  • Note that priority seating at the front of the bus is designated for people with disabilities, passengers with children in strollers and seniors. Please respect the priority seating designations, and be prepared to move if the driver asks you to.
  • To request a stop while riding the bus please press one of the stop buttons located on support poles, pressure strips or hanging chords. This will alert the driver of your desire to get off at the next stop.
  • If you have any safety concerns for yourself or other passengers, please alert the bus driver. 
  • Exit by the rear door when possible. After leaving the bus, wait until the bus pulls away and you have a clear view of any oncoming traffic before you cross the street.

Practical Tips

  • Bicycles: Public buses in the province are now equipped with bike racks located on the front of the bus. You can also take your bicycle on the SeaBus, the West Coast Express and through most SkyTrain stations in Metro Vancouver.
  • Park n’ Ride: Many transit system offer ‘Park n’ Ride’ points where drivers can park their cars and commute by transit.
  • Accessibility: All buses in the Greater Vancouver area are now wheelchair accessible, and the majority of routes in other communities around the province offer wheelchair-accessible buses.
  • Pets: Certified assistance animals may use transit services. Other transit systems generally restrict pets travelling on the bus.
  • Lost and Found: If you find something on the bus, give it to the driver, who will deliver it to Lost and Found. If you have lost something on the bus, please contact your local transit system.

Bus Schedules

  • Schedules for your local transit system are available online for transit users to plan their trips. You can find schedules at BC Transit outside Metro Vancouver or at TransLink within Metro Vancouver. Note that during holidays and weekends, schedules may change.
  • Customer service agents will be able to tell you the best route to take based on your starting point and destination. Commuters in the Metro Vancouver area can also use the TransLink Trip Planner.


Take your Bike

Cycling - LiveSmart BC

Cycling is a great way to help reduce your carbon footprint while staying healthy and fit. In fact, adults can increase their health and wellness by adding just 30 minutes of physical activity like walking or cycling per day - the equivalent of two coffee breaks. In urban areas, cycling can be the fastest and least expensive way to commute. Many car trips are less than 3 kilometres; an average person can cycle 3 kilometres in under 15 minutes.

Some benefits of cycling include:

  • Reducing car and truck traffic congestion and easing demand for parking 
  • Conserving energy and lowering greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improving public health and fitness through physical activity
  • Making our communities more desirable places to live, work and visit
  • Reducing fuel and parking costs

Tips for Cycling

Cycling can be a safe and enjoyable way to travel around your community.  In partnership with the Province, many communities have been hard at work constructing improved facilities for cyclists, including separated bicycle lanes, bridges, and traffic signals.

There are a few tips that all cyclists, from the newest to the most experienced, can follow to make their ride as enjoyable as possible.

  • Research the cycling network in your area: maps of cycling routes can be found online and in bike stores. In addition, a quick call to your local municipality or transit system can get you pointed in the right direction. The best way to learn about your local cycling network is to talk to some regular users. 
  • Study your route: take some time to trace out your route on a map. Walking or cycling the route the day before can be very helpful; be on the look out for any hazards or complicated intersections and try to remember some landmarks to help stay oriented with the area. A notebook can be helpful for jotting down notes and should be reviewed before your first few trips. There is also the Cycling Route Planner you can use for when you’re riding inVancouver. 
  • Ride with a friend: try and follow someone else who is familiar with the area or the route on which you want to go. Riding with an experienced cyclist can provide valuable first hand experience with proper manoeuvres and skills.
  • Learn the traffic laws: just like when driving a vehicle, there are traffic laws that must be obeyed. Make sure you know the rules of the road before you embark. One of the best ways to get acquainted with these rules is to take a cycling skills course and to check out a cyclist’s guide to traffic skills.
  • Maintain your equipment: ensure that your brakes are in working order and your tires are inflated adequately. Keep your chain tensioned and oiled and keep an eye out for any loose bolts on your bike. An ill-maintained bike is more difficult to ride and can be a safety hazard to both the rider and those around.
  • Dress appropriately: reflective clothing can be found at all bicycle shops and will make you visible to drivers in dark conditions. Don’t let wet weather stop you – rain gear can keep you dry on the inside while you get your exercise.  And remember, bicycle helmets are required at all times.
  • Integrate with public transit: the SeaBus, most SkyTrain stations, the WestCoast Express, and most transit buses are equipped to carry your bike. Integrating with other forms of transit can help for longer distance commutes. Contact your local transit system for details about your area, or visit: