The majority if not all car owners would love for their vehicles to get incredible gas mileage. In fact, all automobile constructors do need to meet minimum federal standards on gas mileage. If they don’t, they get severely taxed and penalized. It’s to everyone’s benefit that automobiles use as little gas as possible. Everyone is interested in improving gas mileage and there are aftermarket products that can help increase gas mileage efficiency. These products that improve gas mileage are available but one needs to choose from only reputable and proven manufacturers. In this article we will discuss specific products that improve gas mileage.
One of the easiest and multi-beneficial ways to improve an engine’s efficiency and thus improve fuel economy would be choosing the best possible lubricants. One particular lubricant that can offer real fuel mileage increases is synthetic oils. If your vehicle is currently utilizing mineral or petroleum based lubricants, then without a doubt switching to synthetic oils will immediately give your vehicle the boost it needs to reduce fuel consumption. Technically speaking, there is a huge difference between a mineral based oil and a synthetic based oil.
One glaring difference lies in the molecular structure of each base oil. Mineral or petroleum base stock oils are pumped from the ground. These crude oils need to be refined so that they can be utilized in the manufacturing of lubricants for vehicles. A mineral based oil has a molecular structure whereby the molecules are of different sizes. This uneven or different sized molecular structure inherently makes it difficult for the oil to flow without friction.
These uneven molecules create what is called fluid friction. Because of this fluid friction, there is too much resistance when the oil flows throughout the engine, causing the engine to waste unnecessary fuel to overcome this fluid friction. In addition to the structure of the molecules being dissimilar, which hurts performance, the crude oil contains many unwanted and unneeded byproducts, such as sulfur, oxygen, nitrogen, nickel, and vanadium, which are all contaminating elements that cannot be completely refined out of the oil.
These unwanted byproducts can cause the oil to further hurt fuel economy. The other choice in base stock oils are the best choice if one’s goal is to maximize engine efficiency and fuel economy. Synthetic base stock oils are man-made. They are created with a molecular structure that is the same and totally even in size. Plus, they contain no contaminants. Choosing to manufacture vehicle lubricants with pure synthetic base stock oils is initially more costly, but the dividends these lubricants deliver in terms of improved fuel economy and other money saving benefits more than pays for their added expense.
The synthetic base stock oil’s molecular structure having all molecules of the same size creates an oil that flows without friction. When there is no fluid friction, the engine does not need to waste unnecessary fuel to overcome fluid friction.
When a synthetic oil manufacturer wants to create lubricants that help to reduce friction and improve fuel economy, they will utilize a unique chemical additives called friction modifiers. Friction modifiers function to reduce friction and drag between two metal surfaces that are in close proximity to each other. This is accomplished chemically by reducing the coefficient of the metal surfaces.
By adding friction modifiers to a synthetic base oil, the oil is given more slipperiness. The structure of a friction modifier is that one end is polar, making it have an affinity to the metal surface and thus becomes attached at that polar end to the metal surface. This causes the oil to have more lubricity. By creating an oil that is slipperier, then these friction modifiers enhance fuel efficiency and fuel economy. There are various types of friction modifiers that can be utilized by chemists, such as fatty acids, esters, and molybdenum.
Another important additive utilized in fuel economy type synthetic oils are anti-wear agents. They function to prevent two metal surfaces in close contact with each other so as they do not come in contact. Anti-wear additives react chemically with the metal surfaces, creating a strong film that will prevent metal-to-metal contact and wear. They also help in reducing friction. They work synergistically with other additives within the formulation to reduce and prevent metal-to-metal contact. This reduces friction and heat, which leads to improved fuel economy.
It is important to state here before moving forward that like all things, you get what you pay for. When we consider products that improve gas mileage, we have in mind only the best available on the market. In terms of the actual making of such products, such as synthetic oils, only those products that utilize the finest quality and performance ingredients will have the capability of delivering real improvements in fuel economy and engine efficiency.
Additionally, the type of fuel enhancing synthetic oils discussed here typically are made utilizing larger volumes of additives than conventional lubricants. Having sufficient amounts of friction modifiers, etc. provides the oil the capacity to perform not only in the toughest environments but over extended periods of time.
Another unique ingredient that gives a quality synthetic oil the capability of improving fuel mileage in a vehicle would be an oiliness additive. An oiliness additive provides an oil the ability to penetrate into the subsurface of the metal for improved lubrication. As pressure and temperatures rise inside the engine, this oiliness additive literally “sweats out” of the metal subsurface, providing an additional oiliness and slippery property to the synthetic oil, which further helps to reduce friction and save fuel consumption.
Improved Fuel Mileage By Decreasing Viscosity
Historically, cars and light duty trucks typically ran 10W40 engine oil. When improving gas mileage became a necessity, car manufacturers started to specify 5W30 motor oil. Moving into the 21st century, OEMs became more experienced at creating safe and effective engine oils with much lower viscosities. Motor oils such as 5W20 and 0W20 came into service. With these types of lower viscosity oils, lower fuel consumption became a reality. The lower the oil viscosity, the less fluid friction, which meant engines required less consumption to overcome any fluid friction.
To get even better fuel mileage savings, a few manufacturers have specified 0W16 engine oil as factory fill. The lower the oil viscosity, the less fluid friction of that oil. Imagine a cup of water and a jar of honey. When taking a spoon and mixing water, you will notice very little resistance. Taking that same spoon and trying to mix the honey will show much higher resistance. This analogy can be applied to your engine and motor oil. The higher the viscosity of the oil, ie honey, the more resistance the engine must overcome. The lower the viscosity, ie cup of water, the less power is needed to overcome.
Lower viscosity oils are less viscous and provide lower resistance when flowing through the engine. This lower resistance translates to lower friction to the engine parts, which translates to improved fuel economy. As stated before, switching to synthetic base stock oils over mineral base oils immediately delivers less friction. Adding to that synthetic base stock oil, specialized additives such as friction modifiers, molybdenum, etc. help to reduce friction on metal surfaces. Using a synthetic base oil, friction reducing additives, and much lower viscosity oils together creates a synergistic effect that will deliver much better fuel economy.
Why Synthetics are the Base Stocks Oils of Choice When Making Low Viscosity Engine Oils
Attempting to engineer a 0W16 motor oil with mineral base stock oils would be very difficult if not impossible. Chemists could get to the 0W rating with a mineral oil, but where the problems present themselves quickly would be at the higher engine temperatures. The other issue in using mineral base stock oils for a very low oil viscosity would lie in trying to meet industry standard tests. Most likely, such an oil would fail.
Now with the trend of going with lower viscosity oils, it becomes very difficult for mineral based lubricants to provide the protection needed during all the broad range of environments engines must perform in. Engine oils today are asked to perform at much higher temperatures than in the past. With OEMs more and more specifying very low viscosities, the only reliable oil can be synthetics. They naturally have the capacity and ability to handle any and all environments. For the ultimate and low viscosity performance, synthetics have no peer.
Superior Cold Weather Performance
During cold starts and cold weather environments, hands down synthetics far outperform conventional mineral based oils. As mentioned earlier in this post, mineral based oils contain wax-like byproducts. As temperatures drop, these wax-like byproducts cause mineral oil to thicken. When trying to improve fuel economy, a mineral oil would be counterproductive to this goal during cold temperatures or cold dry starts.
The fact that synthetic base oils contain no wax nor any other impurities make these base oils the only choice when looking for cold weather fuel mileage improvements. If your vehicle is lubricated throughout with pure synthetic lubricants, then you should experience improved fuel economy. Synthetic engine oil transmission fluid and any other synthetic lube that is utilized will not require as much energy to flow. Undoubtedly, the benefits of synthetics translates to consuming less power, which leads to superior fuel economy.
When we talk about cold weather, let’s not restrict low temperatures to only the northern parts of the country. Ideal operating temperatures for an engine can reach 230 degrees F. Temperatures lower than this figure can be considered “cold” for your engine. In other words, in the southern areas of the USA during the summer time, synthetic based oils will in fact improve fuel mileage due to their natural friction-free flowability. Hot or cold, pure synthetics mean less friction and less energy required, which translates to less frequent trips to the gas station and more money in your pocket.
Other Factors for Improving Gas Mileage
There are other products that improve gas mileage to consider. Many of today’s motors utilize gasoline direct injection (GDI) to help enhance power and fuel economy. These high tech injectors are found within the high heat and pressure environment of the combustion chamber. Because of their exposure to tremendous heat and pressure, power robbing deposits can form.
Over time, fuel combustion starts to become incomplete and with the extreme pressure present there can be a dramatic increase in soot levels. If left unchecked, injectors can start to foul, which can cause wear, pollution, and much lower power and fuel economy. These injector deposits will increase exhaust emissions, cause the vehicle to start poorly, and idle in a rough manner. The end result is a loss in efficiency, power, and fuel mileage.
One simple and effective way to get an engine’s GDI system to function like new would be to use a high quality gasoline additive. A properly engineered gasoline additive will safely and effectively dissolve and remove these unwanted deposits, which will allow the gasoline direct injection system to function like new. An example of a proven gasoline additive is AMSOIL’s P.I. Performance Improve Gasoline Additive. Testing and real life results have shown improvements in fuel economy up to 5.7%.
When considering products that improve gas mileage, consider tires. Tire manufacturers do a lot of testing and there have been definite improvements delivered for gas mileage. Always choose the best possible tires for your vehicle and to get maximum fuel economy, it is critical that your tires maintain the proper tire pressures.
A couple of products that improve gas mileage are brakes and air filters. Yes, it is possible to improve fuel mileage through your brakes. Again, to reach your goal, be sure that your vehicle’s break pads are in excellent condition and they are not stuck or dragging. If your brake pads are dragging, without a doubt this will cause a tremendous amount of friction. Stuck brake pads will force your engine to work overtime and burn up costly gas.
The next item to consider for improved fuel mileage would be your air filter. It is critical that your air filter is not clogged with dust or dirt. If it is clogged, it will deny your motor of the necessary air it requires. Also, there are varying qualities of filters. Choosing the highest quality filter will have an impact on fuel mileage.
The final area to consider when trying to improve fuel economy would be how you drive your vehicle. It is important to drive as smoothly as possible. Focus on applying the gas pedal as gently and smoothly as possible. Smoothness means better fuel economy focus on being steady and consistent with both the gas pedal and the brake pedal. Eliminate what is call jack rabbit starts. This is a technique of accelerating hard from a stop. Not only is driving smoothly better for fuel economy, but it also is safer. Consistency and smoothness are paramount to enhanced fuel economy.
Products that improve gas mileage are available and do deliver results. The secret is to choose ones that are proven and are of high quality.