• Do some research before you leave home – The Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) website, www.vehicles.nrcan.gc.ca, lets you compare the fuel consumption of various makes and models of vehicles for a specific year;
• Check out the EnerGuide Label – Compare vehicles using the EnerGuide label that is found on all new cars. The label shows city and highway fuel consumption ratings and an estimated annual fuel cost for that particular vehicle. The values may not be perfect but they're a start;
• Choose a vehicle that fits your everyday needs in terms of size and power – Put some serious thought into your space and cargo needs – do you really need a minivan when a compact would do? Passenger cars with smaller engines tend to deliver better fuel economy than those with larger engines. Keep in mind horsepower levels have doubled over the past two decades and the power available in today's subcompact cars exceeds that of many midsize sedans of the mid-1980s;
• Choose a manual instead of an automatic transmission – Look for the transmission option that minimizes fuel consumption. Generally speaking, manuals will use less fuel, saving up to 100 litres a year;
• Two-wheel drive vs. four-wheel drive – The added weight and drive train losses you get with four-wheel and 'all-wheel' drive systems increase fuel consumption. Although all-wheel drive can offer better traction when accelerating under slippery conditions, it doesn't assist in turning or braking; there is no substitute for safe driving habits;
• Think about your extras – Accessories and power features can be a big drag on an engine, increasing fuel consumption. How much do you really need a sunroof or roof rack? Are they worth the increased fuel consumption and emissions?
Do your homework and watch your savings add up and your emissions go down.