Canadians may find a lot of long faces at the pump heading into the long weekend as gas prices across the country remain high.
If you want to gauge how high fuel prices may be affecting long weekend travel plans, call companies that rent RVs.
“Compared to other long weekends we’re down 50 per cent as far as our bookings go,” Andrew Gallagher, who runs Castaway North RV Rental in Waterdown, Ont., told CTV News.
He notes the weather this weekend isn’t too bad and thinks the drop in business may well be the price surge at the pump. He says hauling an RV can add 50 per cent to a driver’s fuel bill.
“We haven’t received too many requests for summertime bookings,” he said. “I think people are waiting to see if the prices do come down, and if so what that will look like.”
Another RV rental company contacted by CTV News says they had eight trailers to rent, but after a slew of cancellations only two are now booked this long weekend.
In some cities, such as Toronto and Montreal, fuel prices did come down about 10 cents per litre Friday. But gas price expert Dan McTeague says they are expected to go up four cents on Saturday.
And, nationally, he doesn’t see good things for the months ahead.
“We may see days where we hit $2.30,” he said.
“This week I’m watching what’s happening in China as they come out of lockdowns. That will create greater pressure on crude, gasoline and diesel products. All of those indicate there isn’t much relief in sight. If anything, prices will start to go up.”
Across the country, prices vary wildly. According to Gaswizard.ca the lowest average price of gas per litre Friday is $1.69 in Edmonton. The highest? $2.26 in St. John’s. Though, that’s expected to drop to $2.18 on Saturday.
Taylor Jones was fuelling up at a gas station in Toronto when he spoke to CTV News. He’s headed to Ottawa for the long weekend and figures the round trip will cost $300 in fuel. He explored taking the train or flying, but found the cost was about the same.
“Honestly, way too much money to do anything right now,” he said as he looked at his $137 gas bill.
Another driver told CTV News he was going to Newcastle, Ont., to visit his father who is terminally ill with cancer. He said his V8 SUV is now extremely expensive to drive, but it’s the only vehicle he has.
“So it costs me 60 bucks to go and 60 to come back just to go 100 kilometres to visit my dad who’s sick,” said the driver. “It’s just a lot man. It’s hard to cope.”
The CAA has some tips for motorists that could help them save fuel. The auto association says top of the list is to avoid “jack-rabbit” starts and hard braking.
“The biggest thing you can do to save fuel is simply not to jam down on the accelerator and not jam on the brake,” Ian Jack of the CAA told CTV News.
“Rather, coast to a stop and accelerate more gently. You can save up to 40 per cent on your gas bill by doing that.”
The CAA also recommends motorists check their tire pressure. Studies suggest under-inflated tires can add up to three or four per cent to gas consumption. Drivers should also remove roof racks if they are not being used,
“It’s a big drag on a vehicle that costs you a lot of fuel,” said Jack.