Fuel Economy Through
STREET SMARTS IS A MONTHLY
COLUMN DEVOTED TO THE ON-HIGHWAY
TRUCK MARKETS. STEVE STURGESS IS
AN INDEPENDENT TRUCKING WRITER AND
CONSULTANT BASED IN IRVINE, CALIF.
HIS BLOG IS AT WWW.STEVESTURGESS.COM.
We’ve been through a slew of engine oil category changes as the impact of emissions
regulations have progressed over the
last 14 years. Since 1998 the lube industry had to act fast to introduce CH-
4, CI-4 and CI-4+ to the current CJ-4
introduced to handle the 2007 combination of EGR and strict PM controls.
Fortunately, the major step to deal with
the 2007 engines has taken us through
2010. But we’re likely not done. It’s possible there’s more to come.
It’ll be another category change. Currently conversation is about whether
there will be a need for a proposed category to meet the greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy regulations that
start to bite in 2014 and continue with
increasing stringency to 2018. The Engine Manufacturers’ Association is looking for this to be addressed in a category
change in 2016.
In the interim though, fleets may transition to newer easier-flowing oil viscos-ities that would be covered in the PC11
proposal, mostly in response to the escalating cost of fuel. For while today’s
near $4 a gallon price may ameliorate a
little, I don’t think anybody believes it’ll
be under $3 again.
The financial incentives are at least
as strong as the regulatory ones — a
point that seems to be missed by our
regulators — to bring up the efficiency
of big diesel engines. One way is to
lower the parasitic losses, and a very
good way to achieve this is to lower the
viscosity of the lubricating oil.