Date of this Version



© 1996, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


"Gear Up and Throttle Down" is a fuel-saving practice suitable for light drawbar loads (less than 65 percent of full power) when reduced PTO speed is not a problem.

For the most efficient operation, a tractor's engine should be operated near its rated capacity. However, there are many field operations (such as light tillage, planting, cultivating, and hay raking) that do not require full tractor power. This is especially true when older implements, which were sized for a smaller tractor, are used with higher horsepower tractors. Also, many operations should be performed at a fixed field speed.

For these lighter operations, a substantial amount of fuel can be saved by shifting to a faster gear and slowing the engine speed to maintain the desired field speed, or "Gear Up and Throttle Down." An example of this procedure is shifting a manual transmission car or truck from second to third gear while reducing the throttle setting to maintain travel speed.