These days, sticker shock is a common byproduct of filling one’s gas tank. Prior to 2022, Canada’s highest average gas price was $1.40 per litre in 2008 — an amount that seems delightfully low considering we watched inflation drive average prices above $2 per litre this past summer.
Pain at the pump has forced some to take action. Thirty-three percent of Canadians say they’ve driven less over the last six months in response to inflation, according to a September 2022 NerdWallet survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among 1,116 Canadians.
If you’re already driving as efficiently as you can, getting picky about where and when you fill up, and how you pay for it, are additional ways to find relief.
Gas apps and websites
Downloading an app or visiting a website can help you determine which gas station, and day of the week, are best for your wallet.
GasBuddy: Use this mobile app to scan prices in your area and filter gas stations by price, amenities, and more.
Waze.com: In addition to finding efficient routes, Waze also displays user-reported gas prices along the way.
CAA.ca: Use the app to search gas prices nearby, and check the website to see price trends in your area and across the country.
Geico: You don’t need to have Geico insurance to use their app and website to find cheap gas prices near your home or work. Visit www.geico.com/save/local-gas-prices to see how it works.
Gas Wizard.ca: This website predicts where gas prices are going in the next few days, which can help you determine the cheapest day to fill up.
Gas rewards programs
You’re leaving money on the table if you’re not earning and redeeming points on your gas purchases. You can do this by joining certain branded rewards programs, and paying with rewards credit cards that accelerate your earn rates.
PC Optimum is connected with Esso and Mobil gas stations. At Esso stations, you will earn 10 points per litre and 10 points per $1 spent on car washes and in-store items. Mobil earn rates vary by location. Redeeming 4,000 points will get you $0.10 off per litre in a single refill (to a maximum of 40 litres).
You can also earn PC Optimum points at Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore and other stores and turn them into gas savings.
If you combine your PC Optimum membership with the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard, you’ll earn an additional 20 points per litre when you use your card to fill up.
When you sign up for Petro-Canada’s loyalty program, you’ll earn 10 Petro-Points per litre of gas and 10 points per $1 spent on convenience items. Redeeming 1,000 points gets you $1 off.
Linking your Petro Points account to a qualifying RBC credit or debit card and using it to pay for your gas will save you $0.03 per litre and earn 20% more Petro Points.
Manage your points using the Petro-Canada app, which allows you to pay for gas and collect and redeem points.
You’ll earn $0.03 per litre in CT money when you fill up at Canadian Tire Gas+ locations and pay with cash or a debit card. If you pay with a Triangle credit card, you’ll get $0.05 to $0.07 per litre in CT Money.
Costco members enjoy wholesale gas prices, which may be cheaper than those at other stations. CIBC Costco Mastercard holders will earn 3% cash back when they use the card to fill up at Costco gas stations.
Cash-back earning credit cards
Scoring a lower per-litre price is the most immediate way to save on gas, but using a credit card that earns cash back on gas may be a close second. Here are some card options to consider:
CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite: Earns 4% cash back on gas and grocery purchases.
TD Cash Back Visa Infinite: Earns 3% cash back on gas.
MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard: Earns 2% cash back on gas and groceries.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card: Earns 2% cash back on up to three selected categories, one of which is gas.
This survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet from September 6-7, 2022 among 1,116 Canadian adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Marcelo Vilela at [email protected].
Buy now, pay later is a point-of-sale financing option that divides the total cost of a purchase into several smaller payments, often without charging interest or fees.