What's your fuel in life
Here we give you tips on how to drive in a particularly fuel-efficient manner and what other tricks you can use to save fuel effectively. We'll also tell you what to look out for when buying a car in order to keep fuel costs low.
Your car won't drive without fuel. With the right tricks, however, you can reduce fuel consumption and thus save fuel in the long term. Here you can find out everything you need to know about it:
• 1. Start the engine correctly
• 2. Shift up gears quickly
• 3. Drive with foresight
• 4. Use the engine brake
• 5. Avoid top speeds
• 6. Switch off the engine specifically
• 7. Avoid short journeys
• 8. Reduce power consumption
• 9. Load the car sparingly
• 10. Avoid air resistance
• 11. Check tire pressure
• 12. Select suitable tires
• 13. Service the car regularly
Driving in a fuel-efficient way: the driving style
The right driving style helps you to reduce fuel consumption and thus your costs and to protect the environment. In the following we will tell you what you have to pay attention to when driving in order to save fuel sensibly.
1. Start the engine properly
When starting the engine, do not press the accelerator pedal before you are ready to drive. That means: buckle up first and check whether the seat, rear and side mirrors are correctly adjusted. Only then do you start the engine of your car.
As soon as the engine is running, drive off straight away. Don't let the engine warm up first. This has not been necessary for any car model since the 1980s. The ADAC found this in an investigation: Allowing the engine to warm up increases fuel consumption unnecessarily, pollutes the environment and also increases the risk of engine damage.
2. Shift up gears quickly
If you are in a higher gear at a certain speed, you use less fuel than if you are driving in a lower gear.
example: If you shift into fourth gear at 40 km / h, the fuel consumption is lower than if you are still driving in second or third gear at the same speed. Driving in a high gear is also known as low-speed driving. This is because the speed is then low. The opposite is high-speed driving (at high speed).
This is 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 as finely atomized as it is in modern cars today. Today more additives are added to the fuel that prevent sooting. So modern diesel and gasoline vehicles no longer soot.
The following applies: Driving at low speeds does not damage modern engines and at the same time saves fuel.
tip: Only drive in first gear to roll up from a standing position. Because this is where the highest fuel consumption occurs. When you have driven about two to three meters (about the length of a car), you can shift into second gear.
You will continue to save fuel if you then always engage the highest possible gear. Your driving style is also more environmentally friendly than if you wait a long time to shift gears. Another advantage: low-speed driving saves the engine. The background: At high speeds (when driving at high speeds) there is more friction, which increases wear. By driving at low speed (at a low speed), there is less friction. A maximum speed of 2000 revolutions per minute is normally recommended.
Another tip: Switching back is often not even necessary. Try to avoid unnecessary downshifts while driving. This can save you fuel. Every downshift consumes fuel. Because: Whenever you shift down a gear, you have to step on the accelerator again to gain speed again.
3. Drive with foresight
Every braking process requires energy. You then have to start again and use fuel to get faster again. Therefore, try to avoid unnecessary braking and starting when driving. With anticipatory driving, you can achieve the most even movement possible 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, maintaining a safe distance from the person in front, carefully observing the traffic in front of and behind you and always expecting other drivers to make mistakes. In this way, you can not only drive in a fuel-efficient manner, but also recognize road traffic hazards at an early stage and react appropriately and in good time.
4. Use the engine brake
If possible, use the engine braking effect. This means: if you put the car in gear and let it coast to a stop at a red light, for example, the motor brakes it automatically.
The background: The so-called engine braking effect is created by an internal resistance of the drive engine. It allows the car to brake slowly when a gear is engaged, without you having to use the mechanical brake (which you operate with your foot).
The engine brake is useful, for example, when you are rolling down a mountain. The automatic braking effect of the motor means that you can often drive at the correct speed without braking. The so-called overrun fuel cut-off also comes into force. The engine automatically cuts off the fuel supply. In other words, you don't use any fuel at all.
With the selection of the right gear, you can drive at your desired pace without having to step on the gas pedal or apply the brake. The lower the gear engaged, the higher the automatic braking effect of the engine.
Important: Always start the engine when you want to brake your car. If you turn off the engine, the brake booster and power steering will also fail. You then need a lot more power to steer and brake and the steering wheel lock can also click into place. There is then an increased risk of accidents.
5. Avoid speed limits
In general, the following applies to country roads and motorways: the lower the speed of your car, the lower the consumption. With a higher speed (high-speed driving) you need more fuel. If you are already in top gear, the speed increases automatically with increasing speed.
Especially at speeds over 100 km / h, fuel consumption increases excessively with increasing speed. The faster you drive, the more fuel your car uses.
Example: With a mid-range car you can normally still achieve a consumption of around 6 liters per 100 km at a speed of 100 km / h. At a speed of 160 km / h, consumption normally increases to around 10 liters per 100 km. Exactly how much fuel your car uses differs depending on the vehicle.
Tip: If you drive on the motorway at a constant speed between around 100 km / h and 130 km / h, you use significantly less fuel than if you drive your car at the top speed. Also pay attention to the speed of your car. The higher it is, the higher the consumption. You will usually not arrive at your destination much later if you drive more slowly and at a steady speed.
6. Switch off the engine specifically
When your car's engine is off, it doesn't use any fuel. It is therefore worth switching off the engine if you have to wait a long time. Basically, you can turn off the engine after a waiting time of more than twenty seconds.
The following applies: If it is foreseeable that you will have to stand at a red light for a long time, want to stop briefly or get stuck in a traffic jam, you should always turn off the engine of your car. So you can save quite a bit of fuel costs.
By the way: In some newer car models, this happens automatically thanks to a built-in start-stop system. As soon as the vehicle stops, the engine switches off automatically and immediately on again when you let go of the brake pedal.
7. Avoid short trips
When the engine is still cold, the car needs the most fuel. Because the engine first has to warm up in order to use the fuel optimally. This means that fuel consumption is greatest during the warm-up period.
Therefore, you should mainly use the car for long journeys. You can save the most fuel by taking your bike for short distances, using public transport or walking.
tip: It is best to combine several single trips if it makes sense. In this way, the engine stays warm even during your stops and fuel consumption is reduced overall.
Equipment: What do I have to pay attention to?
The condition of your car can also affect fuel consumption. Here you can find out what to look out for in your vehicle.
8. Reduce power consumption
The electrical devices in your car use energy and therefore fuel at the same time. Because the car has to generate its own electricity. So if your car has lighting, air conditioning, heated seats or a radio, fuel consumption inevitably increases.
According to ADAC calculations, if you consume 100 watts (from electrical appliances), you will need around 0.1 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. The air conditioning (170 watts) and the heated rear window (185 watts) in particular consume a lot of energy. The radio, on the other hand, requires little power with around 20 watts.
If all electrical devices are in use at the same time, power consumption of up to 600 watts can quickly arise. This increases fuel consumption by over half a liter per 100 kilometers.
Tip: To save fuel while driving, you should avoid using electronic devices in the car as much as possible. Nevertheless, you shouldn't do without electrical devices, especially if they affect your safety. For example, always ensure a comfortable temperature in the car and always use your car lights when necessary or required by law.
If your car is very hot from the sun in summer, you can ventilate it well, for example. Then you can turn on the air conditioning. As soon as you have the right temperature in the vehicle, you should turn the air conditioning off again to save fuel. The same goes for the other electrical appliances.
9. Load the car sparingly
To save fuel, the following applies when loading the car: Do not drive around unnecessary ballast. Because 100 kilos of additional weight alone normally 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. Because even an unloaded rear rack makes the car heavier and thus increases fuel consumption.
The same applies to the car interior: regularly sort out everything that you don't really need in the car. Because no matter whether atlas, crates of drinks or other small items: Driving unnecessary things around the area means extra weight and therefore costs you unnecessary fuel.
10. Avoid air resistance
Another fuel-saving tip is to reduce the air resistance when driving. If there is more air resistance, more energy is required to move the car. The result: the vehicle needs more fuel. This is especially true when you drive fast 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 generate little air resistance). You can achieve this, for example, if you use a bike rack for the rear of the car instead of the car roof.
11. Check tire pressure
Tire pressure is very important when it comes to saving fuel. If the tire pressure is too low, there is a higher rolling resistance. The resulting deformations of the tire generate additional heat and thus energy that is lost. The fuel consumption increases.
The following applies: It is important to keep adjusting the air pressure to the value recommended in the operating instructions. 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 operating instructions with a full load.
12. Select suitable tires
It is also important that you always have the right tires on your car. Because in addition to the air pressure, the tire width, profile properties and tire material also influence rolling resistance.
The following applies: In winter, wide tires with a deep profile are necessary so that the car has good traction on ice and snow. Only marked winter tires ensure the necessary safety. In Germany, winter tires are therefore compulsory.
In warmer temperatures, you should definitely switch to summer tires. For example, the profile of the tires is flatter and the tires narrower, which is why they do not rest so heavily on the road. This ensures a lower rolling resistance to the road. So the tires need less energy to turn. The result: summer tires wear out more slowly than winter tires and use less fuel. With the right tires, you can save fuel costs.
Tip: Swap your winter tires for summer tires as soon as the weather permits (O-to-O rule). The general recommendation is to put on the winter tires from October to Easter. For the rest of the time, summer tires are a better choice. How you can change your car tires yourself and also check the air pressure of your tires correctly can be found in our “Changing tires” guide.
13. Service the car regularly
In general, you should have your car serviced regularly. Because undiscovered damage or defects such as sooty spark plugs or a clogged air filter can drive up fuel consumption. For example, if the air filter in your car is dirty, the engine gets less air. Then the engine's performance drops and fuel consumption increases.
The following applies: Regular cleaning and maintenance will save you money and extend the life of your car.
Economical Cars: Tips for Buying a Car
Now you know how you can save fuel when driving by changing the way you drive and the condition of your car. It also makes sense to decide on a car that uses little fuel when buying a car. But which car needs the least fuel?
If one compares diesel and gasoline engines, one thing is noticeable: the fuel costs are generally cheaper with diesel. But you pay less for purchase, taxes and insurance with a gasoline engine. Depending on the distances you cover and which model you drive, you should therefore consider: Are the lower fuel costs worthwhile compared to the other costs?
You can read about the general costs of refueling with diesel and petrol and what else you need to consider in our article “Everything about fuel”. We give you tips to help you find the right car for you in our guide “Which car is right for me?”.
We wish you a good trip all the time! Your Allianz Direct
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