The Studies Behind Fuel Economy

Dan Peterson Vice President Technical Development

Dan Peterson
Vice President
Technical Development

Synthetic lubricants deliver maximum fuel efficiency.

Accurately measuring fuel-economy gains, however is extremely difficult.

I have a confession to make: I am on my way to becoming a grouchy old man. Not the type who is grouchy with people, just with situations that make me feel helpless. One of these situations happens every two weeks while shelling out a fortune for gas at the pump. I understand that the early symptoms of “grouchy-old-man syndrome” start at age 50 and appear as incoherent mumbling at the gas pump when the receipt comes out. “Forty-nine bucks to fill this little tank! Someone should go to jail.” I think we all struggle with putting so much money into gasoline or diesel fuel every month, but it is a reality we face.

Still, we want some level of control over our financial lives, so many of us look for ways to reduce fuel consumption and regain some control. In fact, one of the reasons people choose to buy AMSOIL products is for the fuel-economy benefits. So how do you verify that you are enjoying fuel economy benefits from any product or technology? Everyone probably does it a little differently.

The important inputs for fuel economy are the number of miles traveled and the amount of fuel used. One common method is to record how many miles you drove between fill ups. If you record the amount of fuel you put in the vehicle when you fill up and the amount of miles driven since the last fill up, you get a rough idea of fuel economy by dividing the trip miles by the gallons pumped into the tank - assuming you filled the tank to the brim at the last fill up. There are variables that affect this calculation – the ability to fill to the same level each time the accuracy of the meter on the pump, the octane value of the fuel going into the vehicle, the ethanol content of the fuel, etc. All affect the recorded amount of fuel you use. An alternative method is using the fuel mileage gauge on your vehicle. With this method, you can actually measure fuel-economy differences affected by driving routines on the same tank of fuel.

Another big variable affecting the amount of fuel consumed is driving conditions. We all know that non-hybrid vehicles get much better fuel economy in highway driving compared to city driving. It takes a lot of fuel to start a vehicle and get it going from a dead stop. So when you examine fuel economy on your last tank of fuel, do you count the number of times you stopped and started the vehicle in city driving to make sure it was equal to the last tank of fuel? What about the number of hills? Wind? It makes a big difference! Is there really a difference in fuel economy between driving 65 mph and 68 mph? It can't add up to much right? Let's take a look at a recent example (see chart below).

Grouchy-Old-Man 2010 Ford Fusion
Time Time Speed Fuel Economy per Dash Gauge
1:15 p.m. - 1:40 p.m. 65 mph 32.4
1:41 p.m. - 2:06 p.m. 68 mph 31.8
2:07 p.m. - 2:32 p.m. 72 mph 30.2
2:35 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 65 mph 32.2
3:02 p.m. - 3:27 p.m. 68 mph 31.5
3:30 p.m. - 3:55 p.m. 72 mph 30.4
Equipped with resettable fuel economy gauge and a very understanding spouse
• Highway Driving Conditions • Relatively Flat Terrain • Headwinds 10-15MPH
• Cruise Control Set • Measured in 25-Minute Increments

So it looks like there is a difference in fuel economy in my 2010 Ford Fusion driving 68 mph vs. 65 mph. On average it’s about 0.7 mpg or 2.3 percent. It looks like increasing my speed to 72 mph decreases fuel economy by 2.0 mpg or 6.2 percent from the 65 mph level.

If I am looking to verify a 5 percent improvement in fuel economy by using AMSOIL synthetic lubricants, I need to be pretty careful and try to control every variable possible. Even a 3 mph difference affects fuel economy by 2.3 percent. In reality, it is very difficult to control all the variables affecting fuel economy. Most of the time, the variability in driving routines, equipment condition, fuel quality, tire pressure, wind conditions, outside temperature, etc. create so much change that it is almost impossible to clearly see a 5 percent fuel economy difference due to a lubricant change.

What we do know is that, under controlled conditions, there are significant differences between using lower-quality petroleum lubricants and correctly designed synthetic lubricants. The data is overwhelming and it makes logical sense, but all the other variables affecting fuel economy get in the way sometimes. The need to improve fuel economy is not going away, so let’s continue to help the other grumpy old men in the world who hate going to fuel up improve fuel economy with products and information on all the variables affecting mpg.

Variable Valve Timing Complexity for Motor Oils

Matt erickson | Technical Product Manager - Passenger Car

Matt erickson
Technical Product Manager - Passenger Car

Driven by increasingly strict emissions limits and higher fueleconomy requirements, vehicle makers are adding new technology to engines and making advancements to present systems. The setup used to vary the time of intake and exhaust valves opening and closing is just one area receiving tons of curiosity.

Like people, engines must "breathe." An ordinary engine needs approximately 10, 000 gallons of air, to combust one-gallon of petrol. Getting the absolute most from the fuel-air mixture is vital for top engine functionality. This involves precise regulation of valve train components, including the, camshaft and valves. Valves are opened and closed to evacuate exhaust gases from the cylinder after burning gas and to control the delivery of fuel and fresh air for the cylinder. Valves are pushed open by cams (lobes) and closed by springs. Valve timing is controlled by the contour of the cam lobe and position of the camshaft relative to the crankshaft. In traditional engine designs, the time of every valve is locked and can't be altered without physically changing the camshaft. The task is making a method that performs economically at both low engine rpm and high engine rpm. Enter variable valve timing systems.

Variable valve timing presents yet another complexity for motor oils to overcome.

Variable valve timing (VVT) is just a decades old technology that has been introduced to defeat the constitutional limitations of fixed valve train systems. Its use has steadily grown since the late1990s, and VVT can now be found in virtually all 2011 and later vehicles. VVT allows the opening and closing activity of the valves to occur sooner, or be delayed, in accordance with the place of the plunger. This can help you reach optimal fuel economy and performance at low speeds and when passing someone on the freeway. It also results in lower emissions.

There are many VVT methods used by OEMs, and there were recent developments in the control of the methods. Many systems use oil-pressure - used mechanical devices to change valve timing (as soon as the valve opens and closes), valve duration (how long the valve is open) and valve lift (how far the valve opens). For instance, the Honda i-VTEC system utilizes oil pressure to lock the motion of intake valves together via pins and transfers their motion to another cam profile to correct for the increase in performance needed above 4500 rpm.

Now more than ever, quality motor oil is key to engine longevity.

Other systems, like Toyota's VVT-i, vary the valve motion by adjusting the time of the camshaft in relation to engine speed. Oil pressure-actuated devices, generally called cam phasers, are used to control that motion.

Amsoil Automatic Transmission Fluid in Signature Series Line

Amsoil Signature Series Transmission Fluid

Amsoil Signature Series Transmission Fluid

Along with new names and packaging comes a marketing strategy designed to supply Dealers a competitive edge by appealing to an unique market. FuelEfficient Synthetic ATF and Signature Series MultiVehicle Synthetic ATF offer the most advantages in applications where raised temperatures, significant towing and challenging terrain are typical, as suggested by the icon on their labels. Merchants may find more success advertising these robust fluids to these clients, because clients in these markets are more concerned with transmission protection.

Additional Changes Coming Up

Future changes and these come in anticipation of creating market trends. When most motorists should alter their ATF more commonly due to frequent stopand- go driving or other severe service circumstances, few follow the proper program. Fewer still shift automatic transmission fluid themselves, instead choosing to pay somebody else to perform the service, making establishing a bigger presence in the 100,000plus lubricant installer businesses across North America vital to strong future sales; Amsoil will introduce a fresh artificial transmission fluid to tackle these problems soon.

Appeals to Under-Served Market

Signature Series ATF full-fills a section of the industry ignored by other lubricant suppliers. Fleet vehicles, heavy-duty pick-ups, contractors' work vehicles and other industrial applications encounter acute-service operation everyday, making them prone to the consequences of heat, especially sludge development. Lessrobust fluids fast breakdown in such tough surroundings, creating a large number of dollars in repairs. Its excellent performance, coupled with the openness of contractors, fleet supervisors and other experts to do their particular fluid shifts, positions it flawlessly for the marketplace. In addition, Dealer comments shows that when approaching business prospects is frequently more powerful because Merchants are better able to provide options to problems other lubricant suppliers concentrating first on transmission fluid miss. Creating a connection can result in sales of other items.

Fuel Efficient Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATL) and Amsoil MultiVehicle Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) have been elevated to the Signature Series family, now called Signature Series Fuel Efficient Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATL) and Signature Series MultiVehicle Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF). The nature of the goods was further proven in field testing, enabling Amsoil to introduce new application and service life recommendations, while formulations and pricing remain unchanged. As it's depleted Existing inventory will be replaced by new packaging.

Severe-Service Field Trial

To demonstrate its usefulness in severe service, Amsoil sought a test fleet subjected to the toughest real world conditions. The right partner was located in a Vegas taxi fleet. The steady idling, stop - and - go driving packed with passengers and freight and searing desert heat invite thermal breakdown and sludge formation. Inferior transmission fluids simply don't last in such circumstances.

Internal parts (imagined) earned high evaluations for sludge prevention and demonstrated minimal wear. Additionally, the industry-standard Aluminum Beaker Oxidation Test demonstrated Signature Collection MultiVehicle Synthetic ATF - after 100,000 miles of severe service - still provided almost twice the heat resistance required of new fluid to meet the Chrysler ATF 4 specification (see graph). Results validate the lubricant's high level of reserve protection for severe-service applications. Used fluid analysis also revealed Signature Series MultiVehicle Synthetic ATF comprised 41 percent of its first oxidation inhibitors following the field study. For much more results of this industry research, see page 10.

Outstanding Wear Protection

Loads and changing rates cause extreme stress and torque multiplication on bearings and gears. Amsoil formulated Trademark Series Synthetic ATF with high film strength and premium anti-wear/ extreme pressure additives to assist in preventing wear during intense-duty service. Within the industry standard FZG Equipment Wear Test (ASTM D 5182), Signature Series Multi- Vehicle Synthetic ATF that have been used for 100,000 acute-service miles reached a "Pass" at stage 12 - the greatest stage. The outcomes surpass the Ford MERCON V and Chrysler ATF 4 specifications for new fluid, exhibiting the lube's long lasting wear protection.

Cold-Temperature Fluidity

Signature Series Synthetic ATF is wax-free and delivers amazing cold-flow properties

Friction Durability

Today's transmissions are smaller and must withstand higher horsepower and torque while providing smoother shifts, all with more fluid life recommendations. Amsoil Signature Series Synthetic ATF is formulated with friction-modifier additives that produce remarkable clutch-holding capacity (static friction), torque transfer ability (dynamic friction) and anti-shudder properties (falling torque converter clutches). Evaluation shows Signature Series MultiVehicle Synthetic ATF used for 100,000 miles supplied almost indistinguishable friction properties as new fluid for easy, dependable shifts.

Amsoil Products are Environmentally Friendly

Amsoil Recognized for its Commitment to Environmental Stewardship

Amsoil Recognized for its Commitment to Environmental Stewardship

Amsoil Recognized for its Commitment to Environmental Stewardship

Amsoil products were marketing environmental sustainability long before it became hip. Now, the organization's environmental management system extends well beyond its products and it has really been registered to the ISO 14001:2004 standard.

Amsoil products are environmentally friendly.

Installing Amsoil synthetic motor oil in every passenger car/ light truck in America and practicing 25,000-mile/one-year drain intervals would eliminate up to 35.7 billion quarts of oil.

Remember to recycle used oil and bottles, and remind customers to do the same.

Responsible Since the Beginning

In 1972, Amsoil created the first synthetic motor oil recommended for 25,000-mile/one-year drain intervals. It struck a blow against the custom of changing oil every 3, 000 miles / three months. Many lubricant manufacturers have followed the Amsoil lead and introduced extendeddrain motor oils of their own, while original equipment manufacturers now advocate drain intervals of up to 15,000 miles, and more if using electronic oil life monitoring systems, currently. Amsoil initiation has kept millions of gallons of waste oil from entering the supply stream. In addition, Amsoil synthetic lubricants reduce air pollution from exhaust emissions due to lower volatility, while business testing verifies Amsoil synthetic lubricants and fuel additives increase fuel economy.

Third Party Confirmation

The Amsoil environmental philosophy contains facilities and its management procedure and goes deeper than its products. Amsoil is now registered to the environmental management standard known as ISO 14001:2004. A third-party enrollment body (NSF) has acknowledged Amsoil for its obligation to sustainability throughout all facets of its company.

In part, ISO 14001:2004 sets out the standards a business or firm can follow for an effective environmental management system. Becoming registered to the ISO 14001: 2004 standard provides assurance to clients, Amsoil Dealers and accounts that Amsoil takes environmental stewardship seriously and has implemented procedures to ensure reduced environmental impact. With environmental consciousness just becoming more common, the registration should be referenced by Dealers to prospects who value environmentally responsible companies. The enrollment dovetails nicely with the proven history of Amsoil synthetic lubricants to lessen waste and help prolong a healthy environment. For more info, click the "ISO 14001:2004 Certified" link at the end of Amsoil.com.

Sustainability a Company-Wide Philosophy

The Amsoil environmental management system extends to all facets of the organization's day-to-day operations. For example, Amsoil gets much of its packaging materials from responsible sources. Plastic containers are made from post consumer resins, while cardboard boxes used for packaging derive from businesses operating under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), drastically reduce waste and whose practices help the environment (see graph).

Amsoil products are packaged in recycled cardboard,
which provides significant environmental savings:
  • 1,340 tons of Wood not consumed
  • 6,952 Trees preserved
  • 3,677 BTUs of Energy not consumed
  • 1,181,863 lbs. CO 2 equiv. not emitted
  • 4,602 lbs. of Air Pollutants not generated
  • 4,995 lbs. of Water Pollutants not generated
  • 3,707,523 gal. Wastewater not generated
  • 2,862,426 gal. Water not consumed
  • 532,406 lbs. Solid Waste not generated
  • 1,349 cubic yards of Landfill Space saved
* Estimated annual environmental savings based on the average recycled content of corrugated containers supplied to Amsoil.

Amsoil associates with SmartWay(registered company) carriers to send merchandise as economically as possible. SmartWay is the Environmental Protection Agency's main program for improving fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution in the transport business. By shipping with SmartWay carriers, Amsoil has created effects equal to taking 166 cars off the roads annually. This can be achieved by shipping more weight on every truck and using rail in the kind of inter-modal cargo for long-distance shipments. Not only does Amsoil use SmartWay carriers, it's now formally acknowledged as a SmartWay shipper for its direction of its own corporate wide logistics.

Amsoil also boasts a rigorous recycling program throughout its corporate facilities, recycling the vast majority of materials, including the following:

Amsoil recycling efforts generate more money than waste disposal costs. Actually, the whole 400,000 square foot Amsoil Center in Superior, Wis. creates just one dumpster load of waste every six weeks.

Amsoil is one of the select few businesses in Superior and Douglas County to have met a group of environmental standards place forth by the Douglas County Recycling Office, as a Count Me Green business getting designation.

Other examples of stewardship come in the kind of using remaining generation oil to warm the Amsoil Center, reducing energy prices. The Center also features a roof and state-of-the-art heat and cooling systems that further reduce energy use. Amsoil even converted a big area of asphalt parking lot at the Amsoil Center to green space.

Amsoil has consistently acknowledged that doing what's appropriate for the surroundings not only makes environmental sense, additionally, it enhances business. It's one of the organization's founding principles and certainly will stay so nicely into the future.