Gas prices are rising, your commute is still the same. Here’s how to save money
Gas prices have been rising across Canada, but it seems the demand for fuel hasn’t declined.
And going into the summer season, experts say Canadians probably won’t be putting the brakes on gas consumption.
What’s happening to gas prices?
Canadians around the country have been noticing a jump in gas prices, and the climb isn’t about to end anytime soon.
GasBuddy analyst Dan McTeague said 2018 is expected to be the “most expensive year bar none going back to at least 2014.”
There are a few reasons for this inflation, McTeague explained, including a weak Canadian dollar, taxes, refinery supply and demand, and the changing retail landscape.
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But even with the rising prices, McTeague says expecting Canadians to drive less is unrealistic.
“We’re seeing, riding into this year, higher demand for gasoline pretty much across the country,” he told Global News.
McTeague explained that Canadians can’t simply hang up their keys when prices rise — they have to drive to work, school and run errands.
“Canadians can’t turn on the dime, we still have obligations. I get the sense from people that everyone is just driving around for kicks and giggles,” he said.
He added that people are aware and concerned about the increase in prices, and many look around for the cheapest gas station.
Here are some other things Canadians feeling the burn of higher gas prices can do.
Proactive thinking is key
Toronto-based personal finance expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq told Global News that gas prices aren’t predictable, like other expenses like rent or mortgages. That’s why they can be an extra source of stress for Canadians.
“When gas prices go up, it affects people’s bottom line,” Ahmed-Haq explained, adding that often, the money people expect to have left at the end of the month goes toward car expenses.
That’s especially true for families with more than one car.
“The reality is that there are many Canadians families that are living $100 to $200 away from going in the red.”
Canadians who want to avoid stressing out about gas price increase should plan ahead, the finance expert advises.
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That means things like buying a fuel-efficient car. It also means thinking about the location of your house.
Ahmed-Haq explained that Canadians often buy homes away from the city because it’s more space for the same amount of money. But that means commute costs will be higher into the city.
“Realistically, that house is actually costing you more, because if you’re driving into the city every day, that car is costing you,” she said.
Re-evaluate your monthly budget
Proactive thinking, though, has to be done in advance.
For those feeling the pinch right now, financial planner Jason Heath says there are some steps Canadians can take.
Heath explained that this increase in gas prices occurs at the same time as interest rates rising, which is even more reason for Canadians to take stock of their monthly expenses.
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Many consumers will find that they have monthly expenses that they can shed, such as a cable bill that hasn’t been cancelled even though it’s no longer used.
“There’s a lot of things that we pay for on an ongoing basis — you just pay the bill every month,” he said.
In addition to shedding other costs, Heath says it’s time to re-evaluate car expenses — and whether owning one is actually beneficial.
“I think when you do the math, whether it’s the insurance cost, whether it’s the depreciation, whether it’s the interest, and now to top it off, gas prices — there’s a lot of people who probably would be better off not driving a car, financially speaking.”
That could mean deciding a family needs one car instead of two. It may cut down on the convenience, but be worth it cost-wise.
And while public transit may not be an option, newer ones are always arising. Heath cited Uber Pool as one example.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.