Low-Viscosity Lubricants

Commercial fleet vehicle technology has undergone a rapid transformation over the past few years, with new advancements aimed at increasing vehicle efficiency, reducing maintenance costs, and enhancing overall sustainability. This paper explores one particular facet of this transformation, the transition from standard weight oil and lubricants to low viscosity lubricants.

Understanding Lubricants: Low Viscosity vs. Standard Weight Oil

  • Standard Weight Oils: Standard weight oils, also known as conventional motor oils, have traditionally been the lubricant of choice for commercial fleet vehicles. These lubricants have a higher viscosity, which means they provide a thicker layer of protection for the engine components. However, they are less efficient at reducing friction and transferring heat compared to their low viscosity counterparts.
  • Low Viscosity Lubricants: Low viscosity lubricants have a thinner consistency, allowing them to flow more easily within the engine. This reduced friction results in improved fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions.


Sustainability Impact of Low Viscosity Lubricants

  • Improved Fuel Economy: Studies have shown that low viscosity lubricants can improve fuel economy by up to 5% compared to standard weight oils. This improvement results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the overall sustainability goals of commercial fleet operations.
  • Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Low viscosity lubricants can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of a fleet by reducing CO2 emissions. For every gallon of fuel saved, 8.8 kg of CO2 emissions can be prevented.


Total Cost of Ownership: Low Viscosity Lubricants vs. Standard Weight Oil

  • Fuel Costs: As previously mentioned, the improved fuel economy from using low viscosity lubricants translates into significant cost savings for fleet operators. Considering the fact that fuel constitutes a significant proportion of a fleet's total operating cost, this reduction can have a considerable impact on the total cost of ownership.
  • Maintenance Costs: Low viscosity lubricants have shown to reduce engine wear and tear, leading to a decrease in maintenance costs. This is a significant factor contributing to the lower total cost of ownership associated with these lubricants.


Challenges and Considerations in Switching to Low Viscosity Lubricants

Switching to low viscosity lubricants is not without its challenges. One major concern is the potential for increased engine wear due to the thinner film of protection offered by these lubricants. Further research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of using these lubricants in commercial fleet vehicles.


The adoption of low viscosity lubricants in commercial fleet vehicles represents a significant advancement in fleet technology, contributing to improved sustainability and reduced total cost of ownership. Further research and technological advancements will continue to enhance the benefits of these lubricants.