How Does Synthetic Motor Oil Increase Fuel Economy?

increase-fuel-ecAlthough gas is hovering around only $2.00 per gallon these days, increasing fuel economy is still a top priority for most automakers, due in large part to more strict corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) requirements on the horizon.

One strategy automakers are using is widespread use of synthetic lubricants. How do synthetics increase fuel economy compared to conventional lubricants?

Reducing viscosity increases fuel economy

At one time, most passenger cars/light trucks used 10W-40 motor oil. Then it was 5W-30. Today, many vehicles call for 5W-20 and 0W-20 oils. And an even lower viscosity, 0W-16, is on the horizon for certain newer vehicles.

The lower the oil’s viscosity – defined as its resistance to flow – the more readily it will flow. Imagine a jar of honey and a glass of water. Stirring water with a spoon requires less energy than stirring honey. The same principle applies to your engine and motor oil. Lower-viscosity oils are easier to pump through the engine and offer reduced resistance to moving engine parts, increasing fuel economy.

Why do synthetics offer an advantage in reducing motor oil viscosity?

Formulating a 0W-XX motor oil using only conventional base oils is extremely difficult at best, if not impossible. While formulators can achieve the 0W rating, the oil will vaporize more readily at higher temperatures and fail other required industry tests. Simply put, formulating lubricants is a give/take, and conventional base oils don’t provide near the performance as synthetics, requiring formulators to give up too much required performance in one area to gain it in another. In this case, conventional oils have to give up too much high-temperature performance to achieve the 0W rating.

Better cold-flow ability

Synthetics’ improved flow during cold starts also improves fuel economy. Since they don’t contain waxes, which are inherent to conventional oils, they don’t thicken as much when your vehicle sits overnight. In the morning, when you start your vehicle and drive away, the motor oil, transmission fluid and gear lube don’t require as much effort to circulate. This results in less wasted energy and improved fuel economy.

It’s important to note that “cold” doesn’t only apply to us northern folks. “Normal” operating temperature for a vehicle can be up to 235ºF, and anything below that is considered cold to your engine. So even down south at the height of summer, synthetics’ improved cold-flow can still help improve fuel economy.

At AMSOIL, we’ve conducted multiple fuel-economy field trials. One of them revealed a 6.54 percent increase in fuel economy using AMSOIL synthetic lubricants compared to conventional oils in class 8 diesel trucks, which equals major savings for trucking fleets. We’ve also fielded multiple testimonials over the years from satisfied AMSOIL users who have experienced increased fuel economy (my own parents among them).

Gas probably won’t stay at $2.00 per gallon forever – prepare yourself by switching to synthetic lubricants if you haven’t already.

Amsoil presidents Dean Alexander and Alan Amatuzio.

From The Presidents From April 2018 – I wanted to repost this on our website as it answers a few questions for customers and new dealers alike.  I must first point out that Alan Amatuzio is now the sole president of the company and Dean Alexander is now the chairman of the board after decades […]

2006 Dodge Police Charger dyno test

Another Win for AMSOIL Synthetic Lubricants A HOT ROD magazine dyno test proves that AMSOIL synthetic lubricants increase power, torque and fuel economy.   The advantages of synthetic lubricants are well established. The fact that most motor oil companies today offer a full-synthetic oil is evidence of what AMSOIL has long known: synthetic lubricants deliver […]

black death - engine sludge

How Engine Sludge Develops. You Can Easily Prevent It. Ed Newman|Mar 08, 2017 2:10 PM Sludge. It’s a disgusting phenomenon. Even the word sounds gross, like the thing it’s describing. The word for this is onomatopoeia, a strange word that many of us learned in high school English class. Splash. Grunt. Whoosh. Swish. Hiss. Frumpy. […]

Scott Douglas AMSOIL racing truck

Why not use Racing Oil in my Car If It’s Tougher? John Baker|Nov 29, 2019 8:00 AM When deciding if racing oil is right for their vehicles, gearheads and other enthusiasts sometimes offer this line of reasoning: Racing engines are more severe than my engine Racing engines use racing oil Therefore, I should use racing […]

oil change center

Top Five Car Maintenance Myths Ed Newman|Mar 29, 2017 8:47 AM Today’s blog theme is car maintenance myths. When we talk about myths, we’re not making reference to the characters who populate ancient Greek and Roman mythologies, like Apollo, Hercules and Medusa. In this context the word myth has evolved to simply mean “beliefs that […]

sick ford fiesta st

AMSOIL Now Is Team O’Neil Rally School’s Oil Supplier Lindsay Premo|Jul 26, 2019 1:52 PM Real cars, real roads, real fast. Those are the words that Team O’Neil Marketing Manager Karl Stone used to sum up the world of rally racing. Real cars? Rally cars must be street legal. Real roads? Cars must be street […]