Article

Fuel Crisis Survival

Caterpillar's Top Five Tips to Improve Economy

June 2008, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

by Jim Beach, Technology Editor - Also by this author

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5. Coast in gear whenever possible and for as long as possible using the vehicle's momentum and coasting ability. While coasting in gear, the engine consumes no fuel. A driver can take advantage of this "free mileage" by backing out of the throttle earlier when approaching exit ramps or slower speed limits. Backing out of the throttle at just the right time allows the vehicle to slow down to the proper speed while using a limited amount of braking.

4. Progressive shifting keeps the engine rpm as low as possible using only enough rpm to get into the next highest gear and still pull that gear. Since the horsepower demand increases with the road speed, it requires the driver to use a little more rpm to upshift into the higher gears. You may be able to upshift at around 1,200 to 1,400 rpm while in the high side of the transmission. Heavier loads may require a little more rpm to get into the next gear.

3. Stay in high gear as long as possible and only downshift when necessary. If you can get over the hill without falling below 1,200 or 1,100 rpm and not downshift, take advantage of it. Less rpm used to get over the hill means less fuel used. Let the engine torque do all the work.

2. Limit idle time to those occasions where it's a necessity. The trick is to concentrate on eliminating the unnecessary idle time. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is anytime you think you will be parked and away from the truck for more than five minutes, shut the engine off.

1. Slowing down is the single most effective thing a driver can do to improve fuel mileage. Driving a little slower is also safer, extends tire life, and minimizes the wear and tear on the truck, trailer, and driver. Unfortunately, slowing down is also the last thing most drivers want to do. 

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