After all the holiday and New Year’s festivities, many British Columbians may feel the cookie exchanges, get-togethers and all-around feasting hit not only their stomachs, but also their wallets by January.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to spend less money in 2018, a great place to look for savings is in your vehicle.

Second to buying a home, buying a car is one of the biggest purchases in a Canadian consumer’s life and there are many cost-saving measures that can make your dollar go even further.

Before leaving the lot, your dealer would have probably recommended a list of maintenance to-do’s that will benefit both your vehicle and ultimately, your wallet. If you’re unsure of when to schedule maintenance appointments such as tune ups and oil changes, make sure to check your owner’s manual for detailed instructions.

Finding a vehicle with good fuel economy is also key to saving money in the long run. In addition to having a properly maintained vehicle, finding ways to save on gas will mean more money in your bank account at the end of the day. With great CEVforBCTMincentives available (up to $5,000) on new qualifying electric vehicles, you may also want to consider an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle for your next purchase!

Fill up efficiently and don’t wait for your tank to become too empty – you’ll have no other choice but to fill up at the pump price and risk missing a bargain if that price fluctuates. Also, stations located near major highways tend to be pricier, so try to fill up before you hit the first stretch of the highway during road trips where you can.

There are plenty of tools available to help you shop around for the most competitive price. GasBuddy is a website and mobile app designed to help you save money at the pump. Free, community-based and compatible with all phone systems, users report gas prices for other users to compare prices at different stations. The selection of gas-saving apps varies between Android, iOS and Windows Phone operating systems, so check your app store to see which other mobile apps are available.

Something else you could do to improve fuel efficiency is reducing wind resistance. Wind drag can be reduced by keeping windows and sunroofs closed. A roof rack also increases drag significantly, so remember to remove the rack if you’re not going on a trip where it will be in use. And those car decorations left over from Christmas add more wind resistance than you might think. With fake antlers on top and wreath at the front, your fuel bill could be up by 30 percent.

Your fuel economy is also highly dependent on your driving habits. Driving steadily and refraining from excessive braking and idling will save you money at the pump.

Any added weight will affect your mileage as well, so remember to unload your car if you’re driving around with a car full of unnecessary junk.

One final option to reduce that monthly car bill is to consider buying a smaller or more fuel-efficient vehicle. From new, eco-friendly options, hybrids, compact sedans to everything in between, the upcoming 2018 Vancouver International Auto Show is the place to see all the new options available in the market.

The Vancouver International Auto Show will be at the Vancouver Convention Centre West from March 28 to April 1, 2018. For more information on the Show and to purchase tickets, visit www.VancouverInternationalAutoShow.com.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca.

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