Destination unknown: 47% of Canadians are likely to park their summer road trip plans, due to rising costs of fuel

Is the great Canadian road trip at risk? Whether travelling through the glorious mountains of Alberta and BC, through picturesque vineyards in Niagara, or exploring the charming history of Quebec City, Canadians have no shortage of beautiful summer road trip destinations. But with gas prices at an all-time high, the price at the pump may just be too much for the average Canadian’s travel budget. Will we be staying close to home this summer to avoid paying at the pump?  Almost half of Canadian respondents in a national survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Toyota Canada from May 3-6 say that the rising cost of fuel is likely to impact their summer road trip plans.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid (CNW Group/Toyota Canada Inc.)
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid (CNW Group/Toyota Canada Inc.)
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid (CNW Group/Toyota Canada Inc.)
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid (CNW Group/Toyota Canada Inc.)
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid (CNW Group/Toyota Canada Inc.)
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid (CNW Group/Toyota Canada Inc.)

Toyota Canada survey results:

  • 78% of Canadians factor the estimated costs for fuel when developing their vacation budget and unfortunately this summer, the numbers just aren’t adding up.
  • 47% of Canadians say high gas prices are making it less likely that they will take a summer road trip this year.
    • 52% in BC, 53% in Atlantic Canada, 44% in Quebec, 50% in the Prairies and 45% in Ontario.
  • 27% of Canadians are even considering changing their existing plans because of the high prices at the pump.
    • 28% in Ontario, 28% in Atlantic Canada, 27% in BC, 26% in Quebec, 25% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and 22% in Alberta.
  • 62% say among things impacted by rising gas prices, not only does this apply to vacations, but also to general household finances.

The good news is, Canadians aren’t willing to give up their vacations so quickly, turning to longer term alternative solutions, such as electrified vehicles to control the impact fuel has on their daily lives. 

Fuel efficiency is Canadians’ second-highest concern (20% – with price being the first) when considering a car purchase. Rounding out the top three considerations is performance (15%), showing 18-34 year-olds being slightly more concerned about this factor.

“The data we gleaned demonstrates the real-life challenges Canadians are facing as they try to make their summer plans without the costs of getting there taking up the whole budget,” says Stephen Beatty, vice president, Toyota Canada.  “Looking ahead, we’re not surprised that 52% of Canadians are likely to purchase an electrified vehicle in the next five years. As a leader in this space, Toyota is thrilled to see their value being recognized – not just for their impact on the environment, but for the potential impact on their wallets too. When it comes to improving the efficiency of your vehicle, there’s never been a better time to try out an electrified option such as a hybrid-electric, a plug-in or a fuel cell option where available.”

As consumers continue to search for ways to improve their fuel efficiency amidst record gas prices, Toyota sees a correlating growth of the electrified vehicle market. Toyota Canada Inc. reported that electrified vehicles accounted for a record 16.7% of its total sales in April. Led by the popularity of the all-new made-in-Canada Toyota RAV4 hybrid (2,112 units sold, up 246.8%), the momentum from TCI’s best-ever month for electrified vehicle sales (3,876 units sold, up 82%) led the company to a 6.1% overall sales increase in April. Nearly 1/5th of Toyota vehicles sold in British Columbia in 2018 were electrified vehicles, with increases occurring in other markets, such as Quebec and Ontario, where gas prices are also a concern. 

With recent launches further expanding its line-up of fuel-efficient, low emission options, Toyota now offers an electrified vehicle for every Canadian driver, including:

VehicleTypeCategoryCombined FuelConsumption
2019 Toyota RAV4 HybridHybrid ElectricCompact SUV6.0L / 100 km* 
2020 Toyota Prius PrimePlug-in gasoline-electric hybridSedan4.3L/100 km*
2020 Toyota Corolla HybridHybrid ElectricCompact Sedan4.5L/100 km*
2019 Toyota MiraiHydrogen-powered fuel-cell electric (currentlyQuebec only)Sedan(Estimated) 500 kmdriving range*
*Fuel efficiency estimates were determined using approved Government of Canada Test Methods. Actual fuel consumption will vary based on driving habits and other factors.

“There’s a hybrid out there for everyone – from the adventure-seeker, to the bustling large family, to the commuter looking to shave some pennies off their daily drive,” continues Stephen Beatty.  “Now that summer’s arriving, and plans for vacations are well underway, I’d recommend a visit to your local Toyota dealership to cross this item off your road trip essentials shopping list.” 

For many, higher gas prices affect their everyday lives in more ways than just paying more at the pump. Over half (56%) of Canadians say that rising gas prices have impacted their household finances (23% a lot/33% quite a bit) and 18-34-year-olds (62%) feeling the pinch more than average. The top ways in which households have been affected by paying more for gas include:

  • Cutting back on the amount of driving around town they do (44%)
  • Not being able to save as much money (37%)
  • Cutting back on costs such as dining out and entertainment (29%)
  • No longer planning vacations involving a lot of driving (23%)
  • Adding on to their debt (19%)

For the 47% of Canadians who confirmed that high gas prices are making it less likely they’ll take a summer road trip, don’t throw in the towel yet! In addition to considering an electrified vehicle to maximize fuel-efficiency, follow these tips from Natural Resource Canada to decrease your fuel consumption and associated costs any time you hit the road this summer.

  • Accelerate gently and maintain a steady speed and if traffic patterns permit, allow your speed to drop when you travel uphill, then regain momentum as you roll downhill.
  • Use four-lane highways when you can and use cruise control where able
  • Avoid idling your vehicle
  • Don’t carry unnecessary weight and remove roof or bicycle racks when not needed.
  • Use air conditioning sparingly
  • Use a fuel consumption display and learn how to track it
  • Plan ahead – map out your route, and listen to local traffic reports to avoid accidents, construction and other trouble spots
  • Avoid roads that cut through major cities with frequent stops