Optimizing Engine Oils for Fuel Economy with Advanced Test Methods
Increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions regulations around the world have forced the further optimization of nearly all vehicle systems. Many technologies exist to improve fuel economy; however, only a smaller sub-set are commercially feasible due to the cost of implementation. One system that can provide a small but significant improvement in fuel economy is the lubrication system of an internal combustion engine. Benefits in fuel economy may be realized by the reduction of engine oil viscosity and the addition of friction modifying additives. In both cases, advanced engine oils allow for a reduction of engine friction. Because of differences in engine design and architecture, some engines respond more to changes in oil viscosity or friction modification than others. For example, an engine that is designed for an SAE 0W-16 oil may experience an increase in fuel economy if an SAE 0W-8 is used.