Cottage season.

Just hearing the words is enough to conjure up tantalizing fantasies of barbecues, dock parties, boat rides, and campfires. But as Canadian drivers everywhere will tell you, cottage season also means a lot of time behind the wheel. Driving back and forth from your summer home can have you visiting the pump way more than usual. And while gas prices continue to creep, you’re not about to cancel your weekend plans because of it.

The quickest route to better fuel efficiency would be to just go out and buy the new Ford Escape. But regardless of what you drive, here are some tips to help you spend a little less time getting to know the guy who pumps your gas.

1. Be gentle

No matter how badly you want to unload your bags and cannonball into that lake, there’s no sense in slamming on the gas to get there. Make sure you always accelerate as smoothly as possible, and you can cut your emissions significantly.

2. Don’t pump the pedal

City driving is full of stops, starts, turns, lane changes and traffic jams – all of which cause you to keep switching from gas to brake and back. The more often you pump that gas pedal, the faster you burn fuel. Try to avoid accelerating quickly between stops, and coast as much as you can.

3. Shift quicker

Many people who drive stick will cruise around in third gear so they can slow down and speed up more quickly. Try to avoid this habit and get into higher gears as early as possible – they’re friendlier on your fuel consumption rate.

4. Slow down

The difference between driving 100 km/h and 80 km/h can make a noticeable difference to your gas gauge. So if you’re not in a rush, lose the lead foot.

5. Shut the windows

There’s nothing like a warm summer breeze on the open road. Unfortunately, opening your windows at high speeds will increase drag and cut your fuel efficiency by up to 10 per cent. So keep ’em shut and try not to sweat it: there’s a ton of fresh air waiting for you at the cottage.

If long-term fuel efficiency is what you’re after, you’ll eventually have to consider the actual vehicle you’re driving. It only takes a few summers in Canada to really start craving some class-leading highway fuel consumption. The 2013 Ford Escape makes it happen with a 1.6L EcoBoost engine, a SelectShift transmission, and an active grill shutter that blocks wind and prevents drag.

So, with all the money you’re going to save on gas, what will you buy? Leave your answer below!