It’s summertime in Ontario, which means people are eager to get outside and explore after two years of rolling COVID-19 public health measures.
For some, that means firing up the minivan and hitting the open road for a trip within the province and beyond.
But a new survey published by The Canadian Automobile Association’s (CAA) South Central Ontario division has found that high gas prices could bring those road trip dreams to a screeching halt for many drivers.
Of the 1,697 individuals surveyed, 64 per cent said that the high price of fuel is likely to impact their plans.
“While some are limiting the number of trips they take overall or driving shorter distances, some travelers are planning around gas prices, and others are adjusting their budget to accommodate fuel prices during their trip,” CAA said in a news release published Thursday.
With that in mind, the automotive group is offering up some helpful tips that could save you money on the road and at the pump
- Don’t start your car until you need to – your vehicle will “loosen up” as you drive.
- Turn off your vehicle if you’re going to be waiting for longer than a stoplight.
- Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard braking.
- Fuel economy peaks between 80-90km/h. Use cruise control to maintain your speed to get more distance out of your fuel tank.
- Gradually cool down your vehicle by first rolling down your windows to air out the vehicle, then turn on your air conditioning gradually. Close your windows and sunroof when highway driving, and use a window shade when the car is parked to help keep the vehicle cooler
- Keep your tires at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Set a reminder on your phone to check it monthly.
- Plan your route to avoid backtracking and unnecessary mileage.
The CAA says that planning ahead is essential to any successful road trip and advises drivers to map their routes before they leave their driveways.
“We recommend you plan routes ahead of time and share them with someone, bring a map as a backup to your GPS, and check the weather ahead of time,” Kaitlynn Furse, Director of Corporate Communications, CAA South Central Ontario, said.
“We recommend a daily driving maximum of 800km per day with 15-minute breaks every two hours to ensure you are well rested before you get behind the wheel.”
The cost of gas in Ontario has hovered in the neighborhood of $2 a liter for several months now due to a number of factors, chief among them high crude prices and the war in Ukraine, according to experts.
Gas price drops that have occurred within that time may have been minimal, but still welcome news to drivers.
Dan McTeague, the president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, has told CTV News Toronto that the price of gas could reach $2.25 a liter in the summer months, meaning you may want to get on the road sooner rather than later.
HOW MUCH WILL MY ROAD TRIP COST?
Federal data shows during the summer of 2019, when travel was last unrestricted due to the novel coronavirus, the average price for a liter of gas was $1.26.
Fast forward to today, and you’d be hard pressed to find a liter for less than $1.96 — which was the cheapest price in Ontario as of Wednesday, according to prices sourced by Gasbuddy.com.
With that in mind, you may be wondering how much a road trip to a popular destination is going to cost you this summer.
Assuming that a newer, mid-size sedan gets you six liters per 100km, you’d be spending $7.32 in 2019 and $11.76 today for every 100 kilometers travelled.
CTV News Toronto has compiled a list of some of the most frequented destinations in Ontario and beyond while comparing what the trip will cost you right now versus in 2019.
The 214 kilometer trip to the cottage will cost you roughly $25.25 if you made the trip today. Back in 2019, the journey would cost you $16.26.
That’s a difference of $8.99 or a 55.26 per cent increase compared to three years ago.
If you’re making the 519 kilometer journey to Montreal, that’s going to cost you approximately $61.24 — a far cry from 2019’s price of $39.44.
Those thinking of driving south of the border will also feel the pinch. A trip to New York that would have cost you $59.43 in 2019 will now set you back some $92.
Meanwhile, you’ll need to budget some extra crash ahead of a journey to the windy city. A drive that would have put you out $63.54 in 2019 will now run you $98.65.