Better fuel economy is just one way to save your budget. Over time, fuel-efficient driving also has a positive effect on our environment. The driver has many options to intervene and sustainably reduce operating costs. In this article, you’ll get to know how you can reduce your vehicle’s fuel consumption.

1. Monitoring fuel consumption.

It may sound boring or bland, but we must not underestimate it: Monitoring your own consumption. It is important in two ways.

If you monitor fuel consumption from home to work (and back), on rural roads and the motorway, you can quickly see where you use the most fuel. Think about the options you have to avoid petrol-costing routes or to change your driving behavior on the routes.

If fuel consumption changes despite the same routes and driving behavior, this could be related to a technical defect. However, you will only notice this if you already know what average fuel consumption your vehicle achieves. In the case of a technical defect, car warranty could be useful here.

2. Service your vehicle.

Taking care of your car can’t just help improve fuel economy a little. Care also serves the safety and longevity of your vehicle.

Essentially, you want to make sure that your car rolls smoothly and is burning fuel efficiently. Poor wheel alignment, dirty filters or a broken spark plug can cost a lot of fuel but are easy to repair.

You should, therefore take the opportunity to have your vehicle serviced regularly. In principle, it’s like going to the doctor: a small check-up can protect against major difficulties.

3. Note the tyre pressure.

In driving school, we learn that a tyre should have the optimal pressure. So it serves you reliably. Not too little air and not too much is the benchmark here. 

Every tyre loses air with increasing rolling performance. So make sure to refill it at some point. Tyres that run below their normalized pressure are not just a safety risk. They also cost more fuel because of the increase in the road’s friction and the rolling resistance.

Each month and before any long trip, you must check your tyre pressure. You can read off the optimal tyre pressure on a sticker in the frame of the driver’s door (usually on the right in the frame when you open the door).

4. Lose some weight.

Unnecessary weight in your vehicle wastes fuel, especially when accelerating. If you are transporting larger loads in your trunk that you actually don’t need, you should unload them.

The loss of 45 kg will improve the economy by around 2%. Automakers are working hard to make vehicles lighter. As a driver, you shouldn’t load any unnecessary ballast in order to counteract this innovation.

5. Be a smooth operator.

Accelerating quickly on a bike is a strain on your legs. It is no different for an engine. Accelerating too slowly can also increase fuel consumption. Driving at low revolutions that is shifting into a higher gear too early not only increases consumption. It can also lead to technical defects.

As a rough idea: take 10 seconds to get to 50 km/h. You can combine a smooth start with a faster gear change through the middle gears until you stay at one speed in the higher gears.

Once you’ve reached an efficient pace, be sure to maintain a steady pace. It takes energy to keep braking and then accelerating. Cruise control can help to maintain constant speeds at times, especially on motorway and cross-country journeys.

6. Don’t be a racing driver.

Over-revving your engine is an easy way to waste fuel. Typically, you should shift up a gear before you hit 2,500 RPM. For a diesel car, this number is closer to 2,000 rpm. However, the optimal speed for fuel consumption may be even lower for certain vehicles. But the rule of thumb is: Shift just before 2500 rpm.

If you want to find out more about your vehicle’s recommended speed, some car manuals even contain tips on this. Take a look at yours.

7. Watch your top speed.

The highest fuel consumption is usually achieved at a top speed between 64-89 km/h while you are in your vehicle’s highest gear. Of course, it can vary greatly between vehicles depending on the gearbox, engine, weight and air resistance, but after 80 km/h fuel consumption generally drops quite sharply.

It is understandable that you might want to drive a little faster when the freeway is clear, but slowing down will improve your fuel economy considerably. Of course, you can only go as slowly as is appropriate. But try it out: 120 km/h instead of 140 km/h. Your driving becomes smoother, and your consumption goes down.

8. Play with physics.

Work with the forces of physics! It is better to drive up hills a little more slowly than to exhaust all possibilities. Gravity works against you as you ascend, whether you like it or not. Don’t resist and enjoy a quiet ride up the mountain.

It is also cheap to go down the mountain in the same gear you used to climb it. Quite a few motorists forego using the engine brake. Instead, they brake manually and accelerate again at every opportunity. It wears out brake parts and consumes fuel unnecessarily.

9. Don’t be idle.

Modern cars don’t really take much time to warm up. It just wastes fuel to “warm-up” the vehicle. The same applies if you wait for someone for more than 60 seconds: turn off the engine. Provided it is safe to do so.

10. Take care of the air conditioning.

Although electrical devices use energy in your car, it is usually a negligible burden on the engine. The only thing that really comes into consideration when looking at fuel economy is the air conditioning. The air conditioning system consumes up to 0.2l of fuel when stationary and up to 0.4l when driving.

11. Avoid traffic.

This last tip seems a little silly as no one is looking for increased traffic. That said, nothing ruins your fuel economy like repetitive stop-start situations when you get stuck in traffic.

Nice in theory, but how does it look in practice? Actually, it’s just changing a little routine that can help avoid increased traffic. Before you drive a route, no matter how familiar it is to you: check the radio or smartphone. It can alert you to an accident or traffic jam.

Occasionally this means that you take a detour, but this can save nerves, time and fuel even if it is a few kilometers more connected.

What doesn’t help?

What has demonstrably never been of any use were the many fuel-saving means or devices. Whether obscure electronic add-on parts, magnets or little means are put in the tank; all of this has proven to be pure charlatanism. You can use the same money for a new air filter and an oil change instead of spending it on a miracle. That brings a lot more and saves all the hassle of wasted money.

Saving fuel: Knowledge is good for you.

Let’s sum it up.

While we’d like to tell you that following these tips saves up to 50% fuel consumption, it is more like 10-20%. But even these are noticeable promptly. You will feel it both directly in terms of fuel costs and in relation to repairs to the car.

If you also have a heart for the environment, we can tell you: The more prudent driving style not only helps your wallet but also minimizes your ecological footprint.

Lowering a car from twelve to less than four liters consumption is feasible if you really want to. But it doesn’t have to go that far. A sensible driving style, responsible use of one’s car and intelligent management are sensible and quickly attainable goals for most drivers.

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