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Two-thirds of Canadians Adjust Summer Plans in Response to Rising Gas Prices: BMO Poll

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug 1, 2014) - Ahead of the long weekend, a new BMO poll released today revealed rising gas prices are causing over two-thirds (68 per cent) of Canadians to make cutbacks in a number of areas over the course of the summer.

The poll, conducted by Pollara, revealed how higher gas prices will affect Canadians, and the cutbacks that they plan to make as a result:

  • Six-in-ten (59 per cent) say they will be reducing the amount of driving they do
  • Over half of Canadians (52 per cent) will take less trips out of town and more staycations
  • Four-in-ten (38 per cent) will have to cut back on other household spending
  • Millennials (Canadians aged 18-34) are the most likely to be affected, with 78 per cent saying they will have to make changes to their summer plans
Regional Impact of Rising Gas Prices:
Reduce out of town trips and have more staycations 68% 44% 52% 60% 57% 55%
Reduce amount of driving 64% 63% 57% 60% 54% 63%
Reduce other household spending 37% 35% 43% 42% 33% 37%

According to industry data, gas prices in Canada have fluctuated 13.1 cents per litre in the past six months.

"Increased expenses because of gas prices can have a large impact on vacation budgets, causing out-of-town trips to be a financial burden," said Tony Tintinalli, Regional Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Staycations are increasingly popular, especially as gas prices rise. Canadians still want a summer vacation, so they are going to take advantage of their home towns, and all they have to offer."

Mr. Tintinalli added that cashing in your reward miles to offset travel costs and other activities can help Canadians maximize their spending.

For Canadians looking to maximize their summer fun and savings, BMO offers the following tips:

Leverage rewards to offset costs: Redeem reward currency to offset travel costs and save on merchandise, such as sporting or camping gear, tickets to local attractions and more. Take advantage of your credit card's features, including, travel and medical insurances and roadside assistance.
Don't overspend: Spend less than you make. Develop a budget that establishes how household expenses will be paid and how spending will be managed. Take advantage of free online tools – such as BMO MoneyLogic included with your BMO Everyday Bank Plan and personal BMO credit card – to help you stay on top of everyday spending and saving.
Shop around for a credit card that rewards you: If used responsibly, credit cards are a great payment option because of their convenience, security and loyalty reward features. This summer, apply for a BMO AIR MILES World MasterCard and earn up to 2,000 bonus AIR MILES reward miles (1,000 miles with your first purchase and 1,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in first three months). That's enough for two short-haul flights – helping you save on summer travel.

The BMO Summer Spending Survey which was conducted by Pollara between May 26th and 28th, 2014, with an online sample of 1,518 adult Canadians. Data has been weighted using the latest Canadian census information to be representative in terms of age, gender and region. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets of $582 billion and more than 45,500 employees at April 30, 2014.