“We Want customers to know there is a lot they can do to offset a dip in fuel efficiency, and it starts now, with their current vehicles,” says Steve Meinzen, Deere's manager of Tier 4 standards integration.

He says a vehicle's operator can have a bigger impact on fuel economy than the vehicle itself. Here are three things farmers can do to get the most out of these engines and to offset any potential increase in fuel use that could come with Tier 4 engines:

Reduce idle time

In the past, drivers idled diesel engines because fuel was cheap and the engines tended to be very reliable over the long term. Now, when the engine is idling, it is just wasting fuel. The current starters are more powerful and durable than starters used on early diesel engines, and the new engines start better because of changes in the combustion process, Meinzen explains. How much fuel can be saved from no idling? “The work we've been doing with customers shows that idle time is anywhere from 15 to 30% of total engine tachometer time,” he says. “It can even run in some cases north of 30%.”

Shift up, throttle back

“We've historically said ‘shift up and throttle back’ to try and find the sweet spot for fuel efficiency,” Meinzen says. “For example, when transporting with a power shift or straight gear transmission, pick a gear and vary the speed by the throttle to optimize fuel efficiency.”

Use an infinitely variable transmission (IVT)

With current engines, there are specific areas on the torque curve that are optimized for fuel efficiency, Meinzen says. When you have an automatic transmission like an IVT, the computers onboard for the transmission can talk to the computer onboard for the engine and find that optimal spot.