A woman fills up her car with gas, showing you how to navigate rising gas prices and drive for fuel efficiency

With gas prices on the rise, every cent counts when filling up at the pumps. Whether your daily commute takes ten minutes or two hours, changing how you drive can significantly improve your gas mileage — giving your wallet and the planet a break.

Consider these seven tips to help reduce your vehicle's fuel consumption and emissions.

  1. Lighten your load. Your car needs more power to move a heavier load, so removing any unnecessary weight from your vehicle (those cases of bottled water kicking around the trunk, for example) can help lighten your load and reduce your vehicle's fuel consumption.
  2. Make smooth moves. Accelerating smoothly and avoiding sudden, aggressive stops and starts is not only safer for everyone on the road, but it can also help you save on gas, since putting the pedal to the metal uses more fuel. Hard acceleration and braking put extra stress on your engine and tires, too, which could mean you'll need to pay for more repairs down the road.
  3. Take a cruise. Consider using your vehicle's built-in cruise control system on highways with steady, consistent traffic. Cruise control can help you maintain your speed and use less fuel.

    Looking to cut down on trips to the gas station? Consider changing the way you drive. Use cruise control, cut down on idling, and take heavy items out of your car to boost your fuel efficiency.

  4. Plan your route. The shortest route isn't always the most fuel-efficient one. Look for routes with fewer stop signs and traffic lights to avoid stop-and-go traffic, which can burn more fuel than highways where you maintain a consistent speed.
  5. Don’t idle. Leaving your car running for more than a few minutes uses up more gas than turning it off and restarting it a few minutes later — and it's harmful for the environment, too. Avoid idling whenever possible.
  6. Heat it up. Cold engines burn more fuel and release more exhaust than warm ones. Instead of idling to warm up your engine, consider using a block heater to reduce stress on your vehicle and save on gas.
  7. Close the windows. In warmer weather, it can be tempting to drive with the windows down and the wind in your hair — and when you're travelling at lower speeds, turning off the AC can save fuel. But when you're travelling at higher speeds (on country roads or the highway, for example) having your windows open makes your vehicle less aerodynamic…and that makes it use more fuel.

While you're thinking about ways to cut your commuter costs, why not think about how you can save on car insurance, too? Learn about the top 10 car insurance discounts in Canada and talk to your group's licensed broker to find out if you qualify.

Looking for more ways to decrease your carbon footprint? Check out these seven ways to be more eco-friendly at home.

Share these tips on Facebook or Twitter to help other drivers drive for fuel efficiency, too.