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There are steps that all motorists can do to save on the cost of owning and operating a vehicle.

Here are nine simple, effective ideas to help save on driving costs.

1) Consider fuel efficiency. New models are more fuel-efficient than older models. Dozens of passenger cars and light trucks now get 40 to 50 mpg, with hybrids getting much more. Consider buying a hybrid, a hybrid-electric, an all-electric or diesel.

2) Insurance costs. Research the cost of the insurance premiums before you buy or lease. Where you live and work, how likely a vehicle is to be stolen and potential collision repair costs should be factored into your buying decision.

3) Insurance rates. It’s up to car owners to do some comparison shopping for insurance. By shopping insurance rates, you can save hundreds of dollars per year, or more. Take advantage of senior citizen discounts. Combine car and home insurance (with the same provider) to realize greater savings.

4) Choose regular gas. There is practically no difference between regular and premium gasoline in the performance of your vehicle. In Ontario, premium gas is usually about 10 – 14 cents per litre more expensive than regular. It’s important to note that some high-performance engines require premium gas and some manufacturers recommend it. Check your owner’s manual.

5) Maintain a good driving record. Multiple traffic accidents will result in higher insurance premiums. Reduce your traffic tickets and auto collisions and watch your insurance rates drop.

6) Vehicle maintenance. Scheduled maintenance and proper tire inflation can reduce gas consumption by as much as 25 per cent and will reduce operating expenses over time. For information about scheduled maintenance and general car care advice, consult your owner’s manual.

7) Improve your driving. Plan trips in advance to avoid potential traffic jams, and avoid excessive idling, speeding and erratic driving. Maintain speeds limits. Accelerate gently. Use the air conditioner sparingly, and use High Occupancy Vehicle lanes whenever possible.

8) Drive less. Consider telecommuting, car-pooling and ride share options. When grocery shopping, keeping appointments or visiting clients, try to group your destinations together to avoid making repeat trips.

9) Alternate transportation. Take public transit, ride a bike or walk if those options are feasible. For those who live in rural areas, consider using Go Service or a subway when attending a cultural event downtown. Saving just $20 per week in gas adds up over many months and years.