Improving a car’s fuel miles per gallon (MPG) is an important goal for all automobile manufacturers. CAFE standards for MPG are still undecided, yet gasoline costs continue to skyrocket. One strategy that automobile manufacturers are turning to is installing synthetic engine oils as factory fill. This is one strategy the auto manufacturers feel will help them meet tough government fuel economy requirements. The main question for automobile manufacturers and consumers is the following: Does synthetic oil give you better gas mileage over traditional lubricants?
Does synthetic oil give you better gas mileage? Key points
Point 1: Decreasing an oil’s viscosity improves fuel MPG
In the past, automobiles and light-duty trucks made use of 10W-40 oil. The next step was using 5W-30 oil. In the 21st century, automobile manufacturers are requiring 5W-20 and OW-20 oils. With an eye on even greater fuel economy savings, some car manufacturers factory fill with OW-16.
The lower you go with oil viscosity, the easier the oil flows. Visualize a container of honey and a cup of water. Mixing water with a spoon needs less power than mixing honey. This concept can be directly applied and understood for your motor and engine oil.
Less-viscous oils flow with much less resistance through the motor and thus provide less friction to motor parts, thus improving the car’s fuel MPG.
One area that is overlooked when discussing how synthetic oils can improve fuel economy is whether the formulation is utilizing friction reducing additives. One particular additive very rarely discussed is molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), or moly. It is not the easiest additive to engineer in, but for those expert manufacturers that have the expertise to utilize moly, then the benefits it brings along with synthetic oils is synergistic.
The fact is, moly is able to reduce fluid drag or friction by 65%. This alone is enough reason to seek out a 100% synthetic oil with moly. Without a doubt, expect fuel economy gains. On average, a moly based synthetic oil can deliver fuel savings from 3% up to 15%.
Point 2: Why do synthetics provide benefits in minimizing engine oil viscosity?
Designing a 0W-XX engine oil by utilizing regular base stock oils is problematic, if not unattainable. Lubricant engineers can reach the goal of the 0W rating, yet the oil will certainly evaporate more easily at high heat temps. In addition, following this path of formulation with conventional oils will cause the oil to not pass industry standard tests.
In other words, creating automobile oils is a compromise, and regular base stock oils will not give anywhere near the performance as do lubricants formulated with synthetics. This means lubricant engineers will need to compromise too much performance in one region to obtain in another area.
Point 3: Better low-temperature performance
A synthetic’s superior flow characteristics during cold-winter starting will definitely enhance your fuel efficiency. The fact that synthetics do not possess wax-like byproducts translates to the oil not becoming unnecessarily viscous when your car sits idle during extreme cold temperatures.
In the morning, when you start your automobile and drive away, the engine oil, transmission fluid, and equipment lube don’t require as much energy to flow. Yet again, the benefits of synthetics mean consuming less power and increasing your car’s fuel miles per gallon.
Note that low temperatures are not just restricted to the northern parts of the country. Standard operating temperatures for a car can reach 235 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below this can be thought of as “cold” for your motor. In other words, in the southern regions at the peak of summer heat, synthetic lubricants’ natural ability of flowing at low temperatures will undoubtedly improve fuel efficiency. This means less visits to the gas pump and less waste in both your car and your wallet.
There are many other factors beyond the use of synthetic motor oil that can help car owners to improve and increase their vehicle’s gas mileage. One aspect is your car’s tires. It is important to maintain the manufacturer’s recommended air tire pressure.
Another way to improve fuel economy is through your brakes. It is a good idea when your car is scheduled for service to ask your mechanic to check that the brake pads are in good shape and that they are not dragging or stuck. If they are stuck, this will cause unwanted friction, causing the engine to waste precious fuel.
In addition, when driving, try to be smooth with your braking technique, which brings us next to driving habits. By focusing on being very smooth with how you apply or feed gas through the gas pedal, you can greatly increase your fuel economy. When driving, try to be consistent and steady with the pedal. Try your best not to do to “jack rabbit stars” which is accelerating hard from a stop. Smoothness and consistency is the key to improved fuel economy.
Interestingly, your air filter can greatly affect the performance of your motor. Make sure your air filter is not clogged with dirt or dust, which can rob your engine of precious air. There are different qualities of filters. These filter products can increase fuel MPG.
Does synthetic oil give you better gas mileage? After all of the examples stated above, it is safe to say that is most certainly does. For maximum fuel economy gains, utilize synthetic oils formulated with molybdenum disulfide. So why unnecessarily spend your hard earned dollars for gas? Change over to synthetics to get the absolute max fuel economy.