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driver education can play a key role in enhancing fuel economy

With the new line of Cat® truck engines with ACERT® Technology, education plays a key role in achieving good fuel mileage. Simply put, old driving habits need to change to match the new technology.

Because the shifting window for Caterpillar® engines with ACERT Technology is narrower than it was for previous engines, drivers need to shift differently. Usually, it means shifting at a lower rpm than a driver may be accustomed to shifting.

The following guidelines apply to Cat on-highway engines with ACERT Technology:

  • Operate in the highest gear possible, do not run one gear down.
  • Keep the engine below 1500 rpm.
  • Downshift around 1100 rpm.
  • Use progressive shifting techniques, which means keeping engine rpm to a minimum and using only enough rpm to pick up the next gear. Progressive shifting also reduces acceleration time. In addition, top gear is reached sooner because it takes less time to synchronize gears during shifting and the engine is operating in its highest torque range.
  • Upshift around 1400 to 1500 rpm in upper gears.
  • Upshift around 1100 to 1300 rpm in lower gears.
  • Use cruise control whenever possible.
  • Avoid downshifting too early when climbing grades. Caterpillar engines with ACERT Technology allow drivers to lug the engine as long as the engine maintains road speed while climbing a grade in the 1000 to 1200 rpm range. In this situation, there is no need to downshift.
Education makes the difference

Occasionally, a driver may report that a Cat engine doesn’t seem to have as much power as engines previously used. However, instructed in proper shifting techniques, a driver will usually come back and say, “You were right. It was me, not the truck.”

In addition, drivers who have been educated report that Cat engines with ACERT Technology lug well and maintain their speed better than other brands of engines.

Other factors that can improve fuel economy include:

  • Keep vehicle speed down (fuel economy drops by 0.10 mpg for every 1 mph over 55 mph).
  • Do not run with the fan on while driving, unless required. The fan draws horsepower and reduces fuel economy. Under normal operating conditions, leave the fan switch in the automatic mode.
  • Stay alert to changing road conditions. Anticipate possible slowdowns and stops, and coast in gear to improve overall fuel economy.
  • Eliminate idle time. Caterpillar engines with ACERT Technology do not require long cool-down periods. Therefore, do not idle for long periods of time.
  • If the vehicle is to be parked for more than five minutes, shut it down.
  • If idling for heating or cooling, idle between 800-1000 rpm.

Stop in or give us a call today for more information about achieving maximum fuel economy and performance from your Cat engines with ACERT Technology.