Saving fuel: 13 tips

Here we give you tips on how to drive in a particularly fuel-efficient way and what other tricks you can use to save fuel effectively. We also tell you what to look out for when buying a car in order to keep your fuel costs low in the long term.

Your car will not run without fuel. However, with the right tricks you can reduce fuel consumption and thus save fuel permanently. Here you will learn everything you need to know:

– 1. Start the engine correctly

– 2. Shift up gears quickly

– 3. Driving with foresight

– 4. Use the engine brake

– 5. Avoid maximum speeds

– 6. Switch off the engine

– 7. avoid short trips

– 8. Reduce electricity consumption

– 9. Load the car sparingly

– 10. Avoid air resistance

– 11. Check tire pressure

– 12. Choose the right tires

– 13. Maintain the car regularly

Driving to save fuel: the way to drive

the right driving style helps you to reduce fuel consumption and thus your costs and to protect the environment. In the following, we tell you what you need to pay attention to when driving in order to save fuel in a sensible way.

1. Starting the engine correctly

when starting the engine, do not press the accelerator pedal before you are ready to drive. This means: first fasten your seat belt and check that the seat, rear and side mirrors are correctly adjusted. start the engine of your car first.

As soon as the engine is running, drive straight away. Do not let the engine warm up first. This is no longer necessary for all car models since about the 80s. The ADAC (German Automobile Association) also found that letting the engine warm up unnecessarily increases fuel consumption, pollutes the environment and also increases the risk of engine damage.

2. Shift up gears quickly

If the gear engaged is higher at a given speed, you will use less fuel than if you drive in a lower gear.

ExampleIf you shift into fourth gear at 40 km/h, your fuel consumption will be lower than if you are still driving in second or third gear at the same speed. Driving in a high gear is also called low-speed driving. This is due to the fact that the speed is low then. The opposite is high-speed driving (with high revs).

That’s how it used to be: depending on the type of car, low-speed driving is said to have been problematic in the past. Because it is said to have led to sooting of the vehicle. The reason for this was that the fuel was not yet atomized as finely as it is today in modern cars. Today, more additives are also added to the fuel to prevent sooting. Modern diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles no longer produce soot.

It applies: low speed driving does not harm modern engines and saves fuel at the same time.

Tip: drive only to start from standstill in first gear. Because this is where the highest fuel consumption occurs. After driving about two to three meters (about one car length), you can shift into second gear.

You’ll save more fuel if you always use the highest gear possible. Your driving style is also more environmentally friendly than waiting a long time to change gears. Another advantage: low-speed driving protects the engine. The background: at high revs (when driving at high speed), there is more friction, which increases wear. by driving at low revs, less friction will occur. Recommended is normally a maximum speed of 2000 revolutions per minute.

Another tip: even downshifting is often not necessary at all. Try to avoid unnecessary downshifting when driving your car. With this you can save fuel. Every downshift consumes fuel. Because whenever you shift down a gear, you have to step on the gas pedal again to regain speed.

Shifting up gears reduces fuel consumption

By always driving in the highest possible sensible gear, you can reduce your fuel costs. © gettyimages/motortion

3. Drive with foresight

Each brake requires energy. You then have to start up again and use up fuel to go faster again. When driving, therefore, try to avoid unnecessary braking and starting. By driving with foresight, you can achieve the smoothest possible movement at a constant speed. This is the lowest fuel consumption. At the same time, it increases road safety.

You drive with foresight by driving defensively, keeping a safe distance from the car in front of you, keeping a close eye on the traffic ahead and behind you, and always anticipating mistakes made by other motorists. this way, you can not only drive in a fuel-efficient manner, but also recognize traffic situations at an early stage and react to them in a timely and appropriate manner.

4. Use engine braking

If possible, use the engine braking effect. This means that when you put the car in gear and let it coast to a red light, for example, the engine automatically slows it down.

Background: the so-called engine braking effect is caused by an internal resistance of the drive motor. It lets the car brake slowly with the gear engaged, without you having to use the mechanical brake (which you apply with your foot).

The engine brake is useful, for example, when you are rolling down a hill. Because the automatic braking action of the engine means you can often drive at the right speed without braking. the so-called push shutdown also comes into effect. When this happens, the engine automatically turns off the fuel supply. That means you don’t use any fuel at all.

So by selecting the right gear, you can drive at your desired speed without having to step on the gas pedal or use the brakes. the lower the gear, the higher the automatic braking effect of the engine.

Important: always start the engine when you want to slow down your car. If you turn off the engine, the brake booster and the power steering will also fail. For steering and braking you then need much more power and also the steering wheel lock can engage. There is then an increased risk of an accident.

5. Avoid maximum speeds

For roads and highways, the lower the speed of your car, the lower the fuel consumption. with higher revs (high speed driving) you need more fuel. If you’re already driving in top gear, the engine speed automatically increases as your speed increases.

Especially at speeds above 100 km/h, fuel consumption increases excessively as the speed increases. The faster you drive, the more fuel your car consumes.

Example: with a middle class car at a speed of 100 km/h you can normally still reach a consumption of about 6 liters per 100 km. At a speed of 160 km/h, fuel consumption normally increases to about 10 liters per 100 km. exactly how much fuel your car uses varies depending on the vehicle you drive.

Tip: if you drive on the highway at a constant speed between about 100 km/h and 130 km/h, you will consume significantly less fuel than if you drive at the maximum speed of your car. Also pay attention to the speed of your car. The higher it is, the higher is the consumption. Most of the time you won’t arrive at your destination much later if you drive slower and at a steady speed.

With higher speed and rpm, fuel consumption also increases. © gettyimages/jamestechart

6. Turn off engine targeted

When your car’s engine is off, it doesn’t use any fuel. It is therefore worthwhile to switch off the engine when waiting for a long time. Basically, if you have to wait more than twenty seconds, you can turn off the engine.

If it is foreseeable that you will have to stand at a red light for a longer period of time, if you want to stop briefly or if you are stuck in a traffic jam, you should always switch off the engine of your car. This is how you can save on fuel costs.

By the way: in some newer car models, this already happens by itself due to a built-in automatic start-stop system. As soon as the vehicle stops, the engine automatically switches off and immediately switches on again when you release the brake pedal.

7. Avoid short trips

When the engine is still cold, the car uses the most fuel. Because the engine has to warm up first in order to consume the fuel optimally. Fuel consumption is therefore highest during the warm-up period.

That’s why you should use the car mainly for long distances. By riding your bike for short distances, using public transport or walking, you can save the most fuel.

Tipcombine several single trips if possible. This way, the engine stays warm even during your stops and the overall fuel consumption decreases.

Switch on the engine to save fuel

by switching the engine on and off selectively, you can reduce fuel consumption. © gettyimages/lzf

Equipment: what to look out for?

The condition of your car can also affect fuel consumption. Here you can find out what you need to look out for in your vehicle.

8. Reduce power consumption

The electrical devices in your car consume energy and thus fuel at the same time. Because the car must generate its own electricity. If your car is equipped with lights, air conditioning, heated seats or a radio, fuel consumption will inevitably increase.

According to ADAC calculations, at 100 watts of consumption (by electrical devices), you need an additional 0.1 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers of driving. The air conditioning system (170 watts) and the heated rear window (185 watts) in particular consume a lot of energy. The radio, on the other hand, requires only 20 watts of power.

If all electrical appliances are in use at the same time, up to 600 watts of electricity can be consumed quickly. This increases fuel consumption by more than half a liter per 100 kilometers.

Tip: to save fuel while driving, you should avoid using electronic devices in your car as much as possible. Nevertheless, you should not do without electrical devices, especially if they affect your safety. So, for example, always make sure the temperature in the car is comfortable and always use your car lights when it is necessary or required by law.

If your car is very hot from the sun in the summer, for example, you can first ventilate it well. Then you can switch on the air conditioner. As soon as you have the right temperature in the vehicle, you should switch off the air conditioning again to save fuel. The same applies to other electrical appliances.

9. Load the car economically

To save fuel, the following applies when loading the car: do not drive around unnecessary ballast. Because 100 kilograms of extra weight alone usually results in additional consumption of around 0.3 liters per 100 kilometers.

Tip: remove roof racks, superstructures and rear racks from your vehicle as soon as you no longer need them. An unloaded rear rack also makes the car heavier and thus increases fuel consumption.

the same applies to the car interior: regularly sort out everything you don’t really need in the car. Whether it’s an atlas, crates of drinks or other small items, driving unnecessary things through the area means extra weight and therefore also costs you unnecessary fuel.

10. Avoid air resistance

Another fuel-saving tip is to reduce air resistance when driving. If there is more air resistance, more energy is needed to move the car. The result: the vehicle requires more fuel. This is especially true if you drive at high speeds.

Tip: attach additional loads such as bicycles or roof racks in such a way that they are as streamlined as possible (i.e. they create little air resistance). You can achieve this, for example, by using a bike rack for the rear of the car instead of for the car roof.

Reducing drag on the car

by attaching bicycles and other loads to the car in a sensible way, you can reduce air resistance and thus save fuel. © gettyimages/solstock

11. Checking tire pressure

Tire pressure is very important when saving fuel. If the tire pressure is too low, rolling resistance increases. The resulting deformation of the tire generates additional heat and thus energy that is lost. Fuel consumption increases.

It applies: it is important to keep adjusting the air pressure to the value recommended in the owner’s manual. This also applies to your safety. Therefore, check the air pressure of your tires regularly.

important: however, the tire pressure should never be higher than recommended in the owner’s manual with a full load.

12. Choose the right tires

It is also important that you always have the right tires on your car. In addition to air pressure, tire width, tread pattern and tire material also influence rolling resistance.

It applies: in winter, wide tires with a deep tread are necessary so that the car also has good grip on ice and snow. Only marked winter tires ensure the necessary safety. In germany, winter tires are therefore also compulsory.

In warmer temperatures, however, you should definitely change to summer tires. For example, the tread of the tires is flatter and the tires are narrower, which means they don’t sit so heavily on the road surface. This ensures a lower rolling resistance to the road surface. The tires therefore need less energy to rotate. As a result, summer tires wear out more slowly than winter tires and use less fuel. With the right tires, you can save on fuel costs.

Tip: replace your winter tires with summer tires as soon as the weather permits (O to O regulation). As a general recommendation, winter tires should be fitted from october to easter. For the rest of the time, summer tires are the better choice. How you can change your car tires yourself and also check the air pressure of your tires correctly, you can read in our guide "changing tires".

Check tire pressure and save fuel

Check the inflation pressure of your tires regularly. © gettyimages/powerbeephoto

13. Maintain your car regularly

In general, you should have your car serviced regularly. Undetected damage or defects such as sooty spark plugs or a clogged air filter can also increase fuel consumption. If, for example, the air filter of your car is dirty, the engine gets less air. This will reduce engine performance and increase fuel consumption.

The rule is: regular cleaning and maintenance will save you money and prolong the life of your car.

Economical cars: tips for buying a car

Now you know how you can save fuel by the way you drive and the condition of your car. It also makes sense to choose a car that consumes less fuel when you buy it. But which car needs the least fuel?

If you compare diesel and gasoline engines, you’ll notice that diesel fuel costs are lower overall. However, you pay less for the purchase, taxes and insurance of a gasoline-powered vehicle. So depending on the distances you travel and the model you drive, you should consider: are the lower fuel costs worth it compared to the other costs??

You can read about the general costs of filling up with diesel and gasoline and what else you need to consider in our article "all about fuel". We give you tips on how to find the right car for you in our guide "which car suits me??".

We wish you a safe journey! Your allianz direct

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