This article presents the results of a special test to compare the performance of mineral and synthetic lubricants for commercial vehicles and aimed to find out definitively whether synthetic lubricants pay for themselves in the short term as well as the long term. The arguments that synthetics reduce fuel consumption are that: (1) lower viscosity oils reduce drag; and (2) a synthetic gives less internal friction than an equivalent mineral oil. To test them, a trial was set up which removed every variable other than the oils. A vehicle using synthetics was compared with a control vehicle using mineral lubricants. A table shows the main test results. Synthetic oils gave 8% less fuel consumption on a cold start from -2 degrees C, but only 4% less at 10 degrees C. Fuel savings could be useful on multi-drop work where the engine cools during unloading. Over 233km of mixed motorway and trunk road driving, and 135km of motorway driving, the synthetics gave fuel savings over 2.5%. The article also indicates how to calculate whether, for a given vehicle, the increased cost of synthetics will be offset by their lower fuel consumption and other advantages. Trials by three CV operators are outlined, which also found worthwhile fuel savings with synthetic lubricants.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Reed Business Information, Limited

    Quadrant House, The Quadrant
    Brighton Road
    Sutton, Surrey  United Kingdom  SM2 5AS
  • Authors:
    • SOWMAN, C
  • Publication Date: 1996-1


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 24-8
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 183
    • Issue Number: 4653
    • Publisher: Reed Business Information, Limited
    • ISSN: 0010-3063

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00722426
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Jun 28 1996 12:00AM