Shift up as soon as possible to a higher gear when you reach 1800-2500 revolutions per minute (RPM) for petrol fuelled cars or 1500-2000 for diesel fuelled cars. At these levels, the power of the engine is used in an optimal way in relation to its consumption. This does not mean the highest power but the highest output: the highest possible power with the lowest possible fuel consumption.
A short stop of even 30 seconds (e.g. at a railway crossing) is sufficient to make it worthwhile to switch off the engine. This is actually the same procedure as in the new start/stop systems promoted by car manufacturers to decrease fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The noise reduction is free!
On the highway, one liter per 100 km can be spared when you drive 10 to 15 km/h less than usual. There is hardly any time-profit by driving faster, because from 70 km/h the impact of air resistance increases exponentially. Maintaining a steady speed can also reduce fuel consumption.
Beware: safety is most important! Don't put other people in danger by driving at an inappropriate speed. When you drive too slowly, your savings will be counteracted because the traffic behind you needs to slow down and then accelerate again to pass you by.
A tire, even a new one, looses 0.15 bars of pressure each month. If tire pressure is too low, this increases fuel consumption and influences road control and handling. Check your car’s tire pressure monthly. Driving increases tire pressure because it warms and expands the air inside the tires, so be sure to check your tires when they are cold (i.e. when you have driven less than three kilometers) to make sure that your pressure reading is accurate.
When you drive at a constant speed, try to use the highest gear possible. On a flat road you can keep a steady speed at an engine RPM that is only slightly higher than the stationary RPM. The engine revolves less when you are in a higher gear. Each revolution means fuel is injected, so the less the RPM, the less the fuel consumption. Beware: in mountainous regions, especially with a heavy load, you can over strain the engine if you stay for too long to the highest gear possible.
Devices such as the rear window defroster, fog lights or air conditioning all increase energy consumption dramatically. Use only when really necessary.
A revolution counter or onboard computer assists you in choosing the appropriate speed. A navigation system helps you to reach your destination quicker. Cruise control is a useful aid for smooth and steady driving. Beware: safety is most important! Don't put other people in danger by become distracted by devices instead of paying attention to traffic.
Teach yourself an anticipatory driving style. When you approach an obstacle or crossroads, release the accelerator and leave the car in gear. Stay in the same gear and shift only when you want to accelerate again. When you brake, energy generated by the engine is lost. This energy is transferred into heat through the brakes or engine. When you slow down without shifting, the fuel supply is cut off completely.
A treacherous dilemma! Air conditioning increases fuel consumption and therefore is not recommended. However, open windows have the same effect when driving at higher speeds (above 60 km/h) because of the increase in air resistance. At higher speeds it is better to use the air vents, but without air conditioning.
Roof racks and other bicycle, ski or luggage racks all impede the aerodynamics of your vehicle and increase fuel consumption. Extra weight also means extra fuel consumption.
Choose a car with a low impact on the environment. Think carefully about which car you really need and for what purposes you're going to use it. The EU energy label is a compulsory and useful indicator when choosing a new car. This label indicates the CO2 emissions and the fuel consumption. Some sites offer a more detailed list concerning the environmental score of vehicles. You should also consider alternative transport such as car sharing, public transport, etc.
The best way to control your fuel consumption is to leave the car on the drive! There are plenty of alternatives, e.g. bicycle, public transport or car sharing. Driving with a cold engine doubles fuel consumption. Moreover, the burning of the fuel is usually incomplete, which causes more toxic emissions. For short distances, it’s therefore much better to leave the car at home.
A car which is not properly maintained will pollute more and drive less smoothly. It will also consume up to 5 % more fuel compared to a properly maintained car. When you keep your car in a good condition you will prolong its life, which is another benefit for your wallet.
With a cold engine, it is better to start driving immediately to let the engine reach its proper temperature. Therefore, avoid maneuvering a car at very slow speeds with a cold engine. At the end of your journey, whilst the engine is still warm, move your car backwards in the garage or park the car in the direction you intend to drive away. This means that you will not need to maneuver the car with a cold engine when you start your next journey.
Cities are synonymous for congestion, slow movement, traffic lights and higher fuel consumption. However, cities also have the best provision of alternative transport, which will help you to leave your car at home.
It is worth keeping a note of relevant details such as your milometer reading and the amount of fuel you put in your tank. With this data you can compete with yourself and other users of the car to see who can reduce their fuel consumption the most!