Welcome back. So far we have discussed slowing down and idling. Sticking with things that you can do on the cheap, our ninth tip to improve our fuel mileage is called progressive shifting. The purpose of progressive shifting is to keep your RPM’s as low as possible as you shift through your gears. There are two ways to do this. Manually by yourself as you shift your gears or by activating the progressive shifting setting in your truck’s computer.
We all at one time or another have been sitting in a truckstop, rest area or at a traffic light and heard a truck take off and really stomp on that accelerator. Winding that truck up as high as the RPMs will go before shifting. Sure, it gets you moving faster but it burns much more fuel. Think of how many times over the course of a day, week, month and even a year you run through your gears. Literally thousands. Think of how many times you run through your gears over the life of your truck. We’re talking about huge amounts of fuel which translates into thousands of dollars.
Whether you are starting from a dead stop or picking a gear as you are already moving, the idea is to shift as soon as possible. Use just enough RPMs in that gear to allow you to shift up to the next gear. The conditions will vary of course. You may have a heavy load. You may be on an upgrade. The principle is the same. As soon as you can shift up to the next gear, do it.
I admit that I am not disciplined enough to do it on my own. Nobody is every time. Some drivers will be better than others. I had my mechanic activate the progressive shifting in my truck’s computer. We have a great relationship and he didn’t even charge me. Basically, as I shift up through my gears, the computer simply will not let me raise my RPMs past a certain point in each gear. I can try and push my foot through the floor boards but the RPMs won’t go past a certain point. Every time. No exceptions. I’ve been doing it for so long I don’t even notice it anymore. This is another one of those things that takes getting used to. Most things that are worth while take some effort. We are talking about how to improve your fuel mileage. If you want your fuel mileage to change, then you have to change the way you are doing things now. The definition of insanity is “continuing to do things the same way and expecting different results”.
If you think you can do this without the computer, give it a try for a week or two. The problem is that you are used to running up those RPMs and it’s going to be difficult to remember this each time. Each time you forget it’s going to cost you fuel. Why not try the other way first. Turn on the computer setting and try it for a few weeks. It’s gonna drive you nuts at first. I promise you. Little by little you will get used to it. Don’t give up on it too soon. Stick with it. The fuel savings will be worth it in the long run.
That’s it for this installment. Until next time, slow down and be safe out there.
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- Driver Appreciation Week: Words of Thanks September 16, 2014