A Simple Oil Change Could Save Big Bucks

We were fortunate to have Mark Betner, product manager for Citgo's Heavy Duty Lubricants, in our office this week to tell us about a couple of initiatives the company is promoting to on- and off-road equipment fleets. With 30+ years of experience in the lubricants industry, Mark knows his stuff - plus has some great stories to share! There were several good take-aways from our discussion, but the one that stuck most in my mind were the potential savings fleets could gain by switching from a 15W-40 engine oil to a 5W-40 product with a synthetic base. Mark indicates that the greater lubricity of a 5W-40 synthetic can substantially reduce fuel consumption. In fact, for on-highway fleets, it can potentially reduce fuel use by 500 gallons per power unit annually. For off-road fleets, the benefits tend be measured more in terms of oil drain intervals and component wear rates. Mark cited Halquist Stone Quarry, a Wisconsin-based aggregate supplier, as an example. By switching to a 5W-40 synthetic-based lubricant, Halquist has been able to extend the drain intervals for its construction equipment fleet from 250 hours to a whopping 1,000 hours, meaning lower oil consumption and reduced downtime for service. It has also eliminated the need to use ether as a starting aid during the winter months, a practice that was costing the company two to three blown engines per year at roughly $28,000/engine. Citgo is so sure of the benefits of switching to a 5W-40 synthetic that it has introduced the LubeAlert Confidence Program. The program guarantees you'll see a preset level of improvement in fuel efficiency and oil drain intervals, based on individual consultation, or you get your investment back on the oil product. Of course, a switch to any new lubricant product is never as "simple" as it sounds. Still, Mark had me convinced it could be worth your time to investigate. If you don't believe him, check with the EPA; its testing program shows that a 5W-40 synthetic can provide up to 3% better fuel economy than conventional 15W-40 diesel engine oils. And in this economy, even a 2% to 3% savings can mean the difference between profit and loss. Share Your Story: If you've made the switch to 5W-40, let us know how it went. Good or bad, we'd love to hear from you!

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