It is widely recognized that utilizing lower viscosity grade engine lubricants—for example SAE 5W-30 and SAE 10W-30—delivers increased fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions without sacrificing engine protection. Influential industry bodies and vehicle fleets are also reporting on the benefits of durable and efficient engine lubricants in modern heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

A report published by Trucking Efficiency USA, a joint effort between the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and Carbon War Room (CWR) concluded that “Class 8 over-the-road fleets can realistically expect fuel savings in the range of 0.5% to 1.5% by switching from SAE 15W-40 to SAE 5W-30 or SAE 10W-30 engine oil. The savings from switching to the fuel-efficient API FA-4 variant can be expected to add a further 0.4% to 0.7% of increased fuel efficiency.”

Combined savings of up to 2.2% when moving from a SAE 15W-40 engine lubricant to a SAE 5W-30 or SAE 10W-30 low HTHS viscosity variant should be an attractive value proposition to any vehicle fleet manager given fuel expenses alone are a significant portion of transportation costs. Such quantifiable and demonstrable savings should be equally attractive to worldwide oil marketers as part of their engine lubricant portfolio when targeting fleets.

Fuel efficiency savings have also been referenced by fleet owners. One test fleet has been conducting on-road testing of new fuel-efficient engine lubricant technologies for more than 10 years. The President and CEO of the company calculated 2.3% fuel cost savings during a recent field trial when comparing his regular SAE 15W-40 to the latest SAE 10W-30 API FA-4 engine lubricant technology. He concluded that engine protection was not compromised with a low HTHS viscosity SAE 10W-30 and stated, “this is the best ever 500,000-mile engine teardown I have ever seen.”

Our View
The increasing number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) allowing use of high-performance, fuel-efficient engine lubricants presents a significant opportunity for everyone in the engine lubricant supply chain—from the oil marketers who have these solutions within their portfolio all the way to the fleet manager.

Durable and efficient lubricants provide the opportunity to provide real cost savings for the fleet, whether moving to a lower SAE viscosity grade or to an approved lower HTHS viscosity engine lubricant.
As NACFE succinctly commented, “For fleets currently using SAE 15W-40 engine lubricants, moving all their trucks to lower viscosity oils could deliver one of the fastest return-on-investment of any technologies we have evaluated.”

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