How to protect the environment

Tips and tricks to drive economically

Motorists: filling up properly – a mistake many make goes into the money

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  • Author Christina Rosenberger

If you take care to save fuel when driving, you can save money and the environment at the same time – here are some ideas that can help.

Fuel prices in Germany continue to rise. It’s not just the CO₂ tax that’s driving up prices, but also the crude oil market and the Corona crisis that have played their part in the horrendous increases, some of which have led to diesel costing 1.66 euros per liter and even Super E10 now hovering around 1.70 euros. But for many, it’s impossible to do without the car in everyday life. So, as a small consolation, here are at least a few tips to help save fuel.

It starts when the engine is started. Because what looks simple at first glance, some motorists do wrong quite automatically. To be as economical as possible, the engine should not be switched on until the seats and mirrors are correctly adjusted and all occupants have fastened their seat belts. This can save a minimal amount of fuel, which can eventually add up.

Saving fuel for motorists: tips and tricks

Then it’s straight on – as soon as the engine is running, it should start right away. It is not necessary to let the car "warm up" first. As the ADAC found out in a test, "warming up" actually only has the effect of increasing fuel consumption unnecessarily and polluting the environment in car models built after the 1980s. This can also lead to engine damage.

Another tip that too many drivers still don’t follow is to switch off the engine when idling. An expensive mistake! Vehicles with automatic start-stop systems are a help here, because they make manual intervention superfluous. But if you have a car that doesn’t shut itself off at traffic lights or at a railroad crossing while idling, you should do so urgently. According to Allianz Direct, it makes sense to turn the ignition key when idling for 20 seconds or more. Even when the vehicle is not running, it consumes about 0.5 to 1 liter of fuel per hour.

How drivers save fuel: correct gear shifting and silent fuel guzzlers

The next tip applies to all drivers who do not drive a car with automatic transmission. Because the behavior when changing gears also has an effect on fuel consumption. The crux here is: Shifting up the gears quickly can save fuel. At lower revs a vehicle consumes less fuel. But isn’t it harmful to the engine to shift up too fast?

According to the ADAC, the answer is no. Nowadays, modern diesel and gasoline vehicles no longer soot when driven at low revs, as the fuel is now atomized much more finely than was the case with older cars. Recommended is normally a maximum speed of 2.000 revolutions per minute.

What can also be a major fuel guzzler, however, is the electronics in the car. That’s why every driver should always ask himself: Do I need air conditioning, a fan or a navigation system?? This is because the electrical devices in the vehicle naturally draw all their energy from the vehicle electrical system, which is fed by the combustion engine.

How drivers save fuel: air conditioning off, windows open?

But anyone who thinks it would be more clever to switch off the air conditioning and open the windows while driving is not quite right either. As the ADAC reports, open side windows or sunroofs can also cost fuel. They interfere with the airflow surrounding the vehicle, thus slowing the car down. Accordingly, only at low speeds in city traffic can open windows actually bring a fuel consumption advantage over the air conditioning system.

Tires also play a role in fuel consumption. It makes sense to fit energy-saving tires on the vehicle with optimized rolling resistance – this can save 0.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers if in doubt. In addition, it is important to check the tire pressure regularly. Even a minimal deviation can cause the vehicle to unnecessarily consume more fuel than necessary.

In general, it can be said that driving style can also make a significant difference in fuel consumption. Driving with foresight and using the engine brake can lead to fuel savings here. For example, a situation at traffic lights can be cited here.

Saving fuel for motorists: Classic tip – drive with foresight and moderation

If you don’t brake abruptly, but use the engine to brake slowly and let the car coast to a stop, you not only reduce the risk of an accident, but also don’t use any fuel at all during the braking process. It also makes sense for the environment, the risk of accidents and fuel consumption not to push the speed limit.

Because the lower the speed of a car, the lower its fuel consumption. Means: Especially at speeds of over 100 kilometers per hour, fuel consumption continues to rise as the speed increases. Basically, it can be said that constant driving at a speed between 100 and 130 kilometers per hour on the highway not only consumes less fuel than constantly accelerating up to higher speeds – it’s also safer and usually not much slower.

But for the safety of the vehicle, there are other things that motorists should urgently consider. Firstly, at the turn of the year 2022, some rules have changed- For example, the first-aid kit must be expanded by two materials. On the other hand, drivers also need to keep up to date with traffic signs. In Stuttgart, a new sign is currently confusing road users and many drivers are also making a big mistake at traffic lights with green arrows.

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