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British Columbians planning summer road trips, but high gas prices will keep their vacations closer to home, says BCAA survey

Burnaby, B.C., June 23, 2022 – A new BCAA survey shows that, despite having some of the highest gas prices in the country, British Columbians still plan to take road trips this summer – but are adjusting their plans.

While 77% of British Columbians say that the high price of gas makes road trips ‘too expensive’ this year, a large majority (69%) still plan a vacation road trip. Plans will be different though, with 78% saying they will vacation closer to home and 76% planning to do less exploring using their car once they reach their destination.

Josh Smythe, BCAA Automotive Manager understands that gas prices can dampen a road vacation, especially for those with large vehicles. “All those things we love to do – take the scenic route, go a little further to see what’s on the other side of the lake – may have to wait until gas prices go down. It looks like this could be a year when many of us decide to drive directly to our destination and simply stay there,” he says.

That doesn’t mean that British Columbians need to have less summer fun, as Smythe says that there are ways to outsmart pain at the pump as road trippers head out on vacation:

  • Route-plan for a shorter drive – Plan the most direct route possible. Use GPS, maps, whatever it takes to avoid getting off track. When choosing a vacation spot, consider one that’s closer to activities, where you can park up and walk to explore.
  • Vacation-mode driving: drive chill – When planning routes, look for ways to get there that don’t require as many stops and starts. Save gas by slowing down, driving smoothly at steady speeds within the speed limit and avoiding jackrabbit starts and hard braking. “Drive chill, like you’ve already had a vacation,” Smythe suggests.
  • Climate control – Air conditioning uses power from the engine that consumes fuel. To save gas, Smythe recommends trying the simple choice first: open windows a few inches for air flow before pushing the AC button.
  • Lighten your load – Carrying excess weight wastes gas, so pack light and clean out the trunk, cargo areas and passenger compartments. For necessities, pay attention to how they’re arranged and distribute the weight evenly. Remove your roof rack/box when you don’t use it to reduce wind resistance. If you can rent equipment at your destination, this might be the year for it as towing trailers for recreational vehicles are hard on fuel economy.
  • Fueling up – A full tank of gas may add weight, but it’s not worth driving with less as you’ll waste fuel searching for a gas station. Also, resist the urge to use cheaper fuels not recommended for your vehicles to save money. In the long term you will pay more for repairs.
  • Tune up before you head out – A well-tuned vehicle with properly inflated tires improves fuel economy. Tires can change pressure depending on weather, so for the best fuel economy, Smythe recommends that each time you fill up your tank, check your tire pressures are at the manufacturer’s recommended level.

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About the Survey
These results are based on an online survey of a representative sample of 1,000 adult British Columbians surveyed using Leger's panel, LEO, from May 13-15, 2022. As a non-random internet survey, a margin of error is not reported. For comparison, a probability sample of n=1,000 would have a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Any discrepancies between totals are due to rounding.