Fuel economy "gain" with Starburst oils

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526
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Manitoba Canada
We appear to be endlessly debating the theoretical fuel economy "improvements" running a lighter "Starburst" oil here in North America. Let's assume for the sake of this argument that a 5W-20 will protect just as well as a 10W-40 or 15W-40. Even though Ford in Europe doesn't think so. And Toyota in Australia recommends a 20W-50. That can be for another topic. Remember that according to API/SAE J300 and ILSAC GF-3 VIB fuel economy test protocols, the "fuel saving" oils will give you 0.6% to 2% (Maximum) over the "reference" oil. That's with a virgin oil. When subjected to the mandatory 96 hour aging, the fuel economy "benefit" will decline below 1%, in some cases below 0.6%. So let's assume an average theoretical fuel economy increase of 1%. Let's assume a certain distance, and we'll compare the hypothetical fuel economy and fuel used. Since most of the forum members appear to be within the U.S. we'll assume 100,000 miles and fuel economy in miles per U.S. gallon (3.78 litre per U.S. gallon). MPG Fuel over 100,000 miles 5 20,000 U.S. gallons 10 10,000 U.S. gallons 20 5,000 U.S gallons 30 3,333 U.S. gallons 40 2,500 U.S. gallons 80 1,250 U.S. gallons 100 1,000 U.S. gallons Now we'll apply the theoretical 1% fuel economy "gain" and compare the "savings" over 100,000 miles: MPG Fuel "Savings" 5.05 19,801 199 gallons 10.1 9,900 100 gallons 20.2 4,950 50 gallons 30.3 3,300 33 gallons 40.4 2,475 25 gallons 80.8 1,238 12 gallons 101 991 9 gallons So clearly a vehicle with very poor fuel economy, say a Ford Excursion V10 or a Peterbilt line haul truck, would stand the most to "gain" from a theoretical 1% improvement. In the case of the Peterbilt running the
 
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I hope he is alright. Anyway it seems that the vehicles that stand to gain the most from fuel savings of thinner oils are the work horses that most need the protection of the thick oils and so can't take advantage of the potential savings.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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46,419
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New Jersey
Yes but those 50 gallons per vehicle/lifecycle times millions becomes a substantial number... You have to look a the big picture. As cars get higher and higher MPG, you dont need to save as much fuel anyway, since youre inherently doing so. this the reason why in europe you have 1L engines screaming around on 5w-40 or heavier oil. But then again, a much higher percentage of europeans use synth, and there shouldb a slight MPG increase, probably the same as the drop due to the heavier oil. So all is cancelled. JMH
 

TC

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1,644
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California
"Widespread use of (Energy Conserving) engine oils with this (starburst) designation should result in an overall saving of fuel in the vehicle fleet as a whole, but a particular vehicle operator may not experience a fuel savings as a result of using these oils." http://api-ep.api.org/printerformat.cfm?ContentID=74E2BB59-910D-11D5-BC6B00B0D0E15BFC; "The API also classifies some oils as "energy conserving," which indicates that the oil reduces friction enough to improve fuel economy by at least 1.5 percent. If the oil reduces fuel consumption by 2.7 percent, it may be called "energy conserving II."" http://www.csaa.com/global/articledetail/0,1398,1004010302%257C2024,00.html "Engine manufacturers have spent considerable time and expense experimenting with different viscosity grades and have indicated in the owner's manual the grades they feel will best protect the engine at specific temperatures. While one manufacturer's engine may require an SAE 10W-30, another manufacturer's engine may require an SAE 5W-20 viscosity grade. This is likely due to different tolerances within the engine or other engine design factors." http://www.quakerstate.com/pages/carcare/whattoknow.asp Since U.S. residential vehicles traveled 1,793 billion miles in 1994 (EPA statistics), one can see how a 1.5 - 2.7% increase in fuel economy would add up to a substantial overall reduction in fuel use.
 
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Long Island NY
In practice you should see the opposite from what was previously posted. The V10 Ford Excursion will see less MPG improvement than the 1.6L Honda when both are switched from 10-30 to 5-20 oil. The parasitic pumping losses may be greater in the larger engine, but in comparison to the power required to move the respective vehicles the pumping losses are a larger percentage of total output in the Honda.
 

heyjay

Thread starter
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526
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Manitoba Canada
For some reason, BITOG won't let me add to my original post. Even after clearing the cookies and rebooting, I get: "Sorry, the time in which you may edit your message has elapsed" So here is the continuation of my original post: Cummins ISX motors, I can use Cummins PowerSpec on my laptop to "detune" the motors: max speed 60 MPH, max torque 70%, no WOT, etc etc. I can save 10% fleet-wide by doing this, though it doesn't make me popular with the drivers. I'm still leery that the EPA CAFÉ isn't copied in Europe, as their energy costs are 3x-4x ours. You'd think they would jump at the chance to save a hypothetical 0.6% to 1.6%. Since Ford claims using 5W-20 oils are so wonderful for their motors, why doesn't Ford recommend using a 5W-20 in Europe? Same as Honda. I'm convinced that CAFÉ is just around to make us feel good about driving giant SUV's that get 10 MPG. If you really want to improve economy, drive something smaller. Use highway all-season tires, properly inflated. Keep the suspension in perfect alignment. I have been to Europe and have driven small 3 cylinder cars. I really don't see what problem they have, they're reasonably peppy and get great fuel economy. Jerry
 

heyjay

Thread starter
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526
Location
Manitoba Canada
quote:
Originally posted by TC: "Widespread use of (Energy Conserving) engine oils with this (starburst) designation should result in an overall saving of fuel in the vehicle fleet as a whole, but a particular vehicle operator may not experience a fuel savings as a result of using these oils." http://api-ep.api.org/printerformat.cfm?ContentID=74E2BB59-910D-11D5-BC6B00B0D0E15BFC; "The API also classifies some oils as "energy conserving," which indicates that the oil reduces friction enough to improve fuel economy by at least 1.5 percent. If the oil reduces fuel consumption by 2.7 percent, it may be called "energy conserving II."" http://www.csaa.com/global/articledetail/0,1398,1004010302%257C2024,00.html "Engine manufacturers have spent considerable time and expense experimenting with different viscosity grades and have indicated in the owner's manual the grades they feel will best protect the engine at specific temperatures. While one manufacturer's engine may require an SAE 10W-30, another manufacturer's engine may require an SAE 5W-20 viscosity grade. This is likely due to different tolerances within the engine or other engine design factors." http://www.quakerstate.com/pages/carcare/whattoknow.asp Since U.S. residential vehicles traveled 1,793 billion miles in 1994 (EPA statistics), one can see how a 1.5 - 2.7% increase in fuel economy would add up to a substantial overall reduction in fuel use.
ECII is an obsolete classification and can no longer be displayed on "Starburst" oils. The current GF-3 sequence VIB applies to fuel economy gains of 0.6%-2%, depending on sequence and viscosity of virgin oil. After the mandatory 96 hour aging test, the "gain" is substantially reduced. This is probably why we also have the myth of 3 month/3,000 mile OCI's. Jerry
 

heyjay

Thread starter
Messages
526
Location
Manitoba Canada
quote:
Originally posted by TC: Speaking of "workhorses" which "need the protection" thick oil (or larger engines that somehow wouldn't benefit from Energy Conserving oils), here's a UOA on a 2002 V-8 Ford Pick-up running conventional 5w-20 oil. Iron and lead wear were nil. http://theoildrop.server101.com/cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=000296
Sounds good. So I wonder why these EC oils aren't recommended in Europe in fleets? I would love to see somebody take a MAN, Scania, or Mercedes linehaul truck and try a few OCI with 5W-20. That is something I wouldn't even dream of trying on my Peterbilt Cummins ISX trucks. Not only would I lose engine warranty, those motors are $$$. When you consider that the average linehaul truck is lucky to get 7 MPG, there should be a push to EC oils for these fleet uses. This is sort of like everybody worrying about obese kids, and trying to develop "healthier" junk food. What you have to do is get those kids to give up sugary garbage and get off their fat a** to try a little exercise. Not to make them feel good about eating "healthy" garbage. Jerry
 
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Location
utah
quote:
Originally posted by heyjay: What you have to do is get those kids to give up sugary garbage and get off their fat a** to try a little exercise. Not to make them feel good about eating "healthy" garbage. Jerry
[LOL!] ROTFLMAO
 
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2,480
Jerry the answser is simple. I ran BMW 5-30 synthetic for the dash-requested 9-10k mi. (15-16k km) intervals. Do you know what my engine looked like after 6 intervals? I wondered where all the HP went? I started boosting the psi's to compensate for apparent parasitic drag the engine was experiencing along with 1,2 and 3 liters of replacement top-up oil as the intervals went on. Also, the fuel economy was nosediving. So either 1. the engine blows up eg. BMW M3 that tried to use 5-30 in N. America OR 2. the engine gets caked unless you do 3k OCI's. Well guess what? In Europe, if you drive 200kph all day with 5-20 you will witness #1. And since oil costs $20/L and they're more environmental freaks (disposal) nobody changes their oil every 3k.
 

heyjay

Thread starter
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526
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Manitoba Canada
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. T: Jerry the answser is simple. I ran BMW 5-30 synthetic for the dash-requested 9-10k mi. (15-16k km) intervals. Do you know what my engine looked like after 6 intervals? I wondered where all the HP went? I started boosting the psi's to compensate for apparent parasitic drag the engine was experiencing along with 1,2 and 3 liters of replacement top-up oil as the intervals went on. Also, the fuel economy was nosediving. So either 1. the engine blows up eg. BMW M3 that tried to use 5-30 in N. America OR 2. the engine gets caked unless you do 3k OCI's. Well guess what? In Europe, if you drive 200kph all day with 5-20 you will witness #1. And since oil costs $20/L and they're more environmental freaks (disposal) nobody changes their oil every 3k.
Dr T: Sad but true. Have you gone back to a "European" oil like an xW-40? Or is it too late? For the most part, Europeans don't go for the "disposable" car or "disposable" culture. I don't either, not just because of the environment but because of the effect on my wallet. IOW I refuse to p*** away all my money on buying new cars every 3-5 years. I expect to squeeze every last bit of life out of a car, and I come from a family of Detroit car workers that learned a LONG time ago how to make a car last. Of course, this contradicts what the Big Three desires. I also believe in extended OCI, though you need a very high-quality non-Starburst oil to truly achieve this. In Europe, UOA is rarely done on passenger cars with extended OCI, and those cars seem to last forever. As far as the thinner oil causing your oil consumption, I believe you have read my previous posts on the oil consumption in my 2000 GMC Sierra with Vortec 5.3 litre V8. There is a substantial difference in consumption depending on viscosity used. Truly sad how most folks readily accept that 1 litre every 3,000-6,000km is "normal." Or in the case of the truck Vortec motor, 1 litre every 378 litres of fuel. Ever wonder what effect oil consumption has on the environment? Not just the increased HC emissions either. Sort of offsets any hypothetical "gain" in fuel economy running Starburst oils. If for some reason a person can't or won't use a high quality synthetic of the proper viscosity, they should use a good HDEO, which at the very least will keep the motor spotless AND dramatically lower oil consumption (More stable base stocks to meet Top Grove Fill requirements). Jerry
 
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7,077
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Ontario, Canada
I have measured a 10% increase in fuel usage by switching from 10w30 to 20w50 in a car with a 3L V6 motor, and a 2 to 3% increase by going to 15w40 in a 4 cyl motor. But this was at low speeds on the highway. At high loads, the power lost to oil friction is a much smaller portion of the total usage, so it doesn't make much of a difference. Also, I could feel the difference when I put in the 20w50. It felt like I was driving uphill all the time. European governments collect so much tax on their fuels. Why would they want people to conserve?
 

Patman

Staff member
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Guelph, Ontario
quote:
Originally posted by heyjay: For some reason, BITOG won't let me add to my original post. Even after clearing the cookies and rebooting, I get: "Sorry, the time in which you may edit your message has elapsed"
That's because we set a one hour time limit on the editing function, due to some people abusing this function in the past.
 
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NC
heyjay:
quote:
I'm still leery that the EPA CAFÉ isn't copied in Europe, as their energy costs are 3x-4x ours. You'd think they would jump at the chance to save a hypothetical 0.6% to 1.6%.
Sorry for the "me too" post, but this is an excellent observation.
 
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13,132
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By Detroit
quote:
Originally posted by Ray Garlington: heyjay:
quote:
I'm still leery that the EPA CAFÉ isn't copied in Europe, as their energy costs are 3x-4x ours. You'd think they would jump at the chance to save a hypothetical 0.6% to 1.6%.
Sorry for the "me too" post, but this is an excellent observation.

Ditto!
 
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