In this paper a rule-based energy management for parallel hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) is presented, which is based on the principles describing the optimal control behavior. Therefore we first show the general relations that can be used to describe the optimal limit of electric driving as well as the optimal torque split among the two propulsion systems. Subsequently these relations are employed to derive maps, which represent the optimal behavior depending on several input parameters. These maps are then used as inputs for the rules in the proposed energy management. This not only makes it possible to automatically calibrate the rule-based controller but also gives the optimal control in every driving situation. Given it is not fuel-efficient to turn the internal combustion engine (ICE) on or off for short intervals, it is further shown how this approach allows to adjust the established limit for electric driving by additional rules. In real-world driving conditions this extension results in a significant improvement compared to other energy management approaches. Finally, the performance of the proposed energy management is shown in a number of simulations in various real-world driving cycles.