The Role of Lubricants in Waste Fleet Management


The  collection, transportation, processing, and disposal of waste is a costly and time consuming process that uses specialized vehicles and requires high levels of monitoring and management. Urban environments are especially tough on heavy duty diesel engines. Heavy loads combined with the  constant  start-stop  transient  operations  can  produce  high temperatures,  which  may  result  in unnecessary  engine  wear  and  lead  to  unplanned maintenance  and  downtime—costing  businesses money  and  time.  It  is  therefore essential that  waste  fleet  owners  are  making  the right  business decisions to ensure they are running their operations as efficiently as possible.

A focus on fuel economy

Fuel  economy  is  an  important  area  for  any  fleet  business  to  focus  on  when  striving  to  manage operational  costs.  As  one  of  the  leading  operating  costs  for  heavy  duty  diesel  fleets –  often accounting for  30-40%  of your overall costs – even small decreases in fuel consumption can have a significant impact on businesses’ bottom lines.

Improving truck fuel economy is not just a business concern. In the United States, the Environmental Protection  Agency  and  the  Department  of  Transport  have  introduced  new regulations  for  Class  8 trucks, requiring that their fuel economy increase up to 40% by 2027, compared with levels in 2010. Original  Equipment  Manufacturers  (OEMs)  are  also responding  to  end  user  demands,  and  these legislative changes, by developing smaller, more efficient engines that can run on lower viscosity oils which, in turn, can deliver improved fuel economy.

Waste  fleet  owners  are  often  under  pressure  to  not  only  manage  costs  and  the organizational demands of collection, but also maintain compliance with industry regulations around fuel emissions and  minimize  greenhouse  gas  emissions.  It  is  therefore  essential they  consider  the  full  range  of factors which can contribute to improved fuel economy.

How can lubricants contribute to fuel economy?

Lubricants  can  have  an  important  role  to  play  in  contributing  to  fuel  economy  and operational efficiencies  for  waste  businesses.  In  December  2016,  the  North  American lubricants  industry witnessed  its  biggest  specification  overhaul  in  history  with  the  launch of  the  new  API  heavy  duty diesel  engine  oil  categories:  CK-4  and  FA-4.  The  need  for a  new  oil category  arose  following  five years  of  demand  from  the  Engine  Manufacturers Association  (EMA),  OEMs,  and environmental agencies  to  produce  more  efficient  engines and  compatible  engine  oils  that  deliver  better  fuel economy and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

With  their  design  reflecting  the  needs  of  current  and  future  engine  hardware,  both  oil categories deliver  improved  fuel  economy  for  end  users  and  help  reduce  the environmental  impact  of  heavy duty diesel engines. Both CK-4 and FA-4 oils have been carefully designed for improved resistance to oxidation, aeration control, and better shear stability.

The  low  viscosity  FA-4 lubricants  will  also  provide  potential  to  improve  fuel  economy, as they  have been specially designed to cope with the pressures of higher operating temperatures and more fuel efficient,  low  emissions  diesel  engines.  Lower  viscosity  oils provide lower  frictional  resistance  and drag in the engine.

This  means,  very  simply,  that  less  fuel  is  needed  to  provide  the  same  level of  power. This  allows them to run more efficiently and use less fuel, while still offering improved levels of wear protection. In turn, this supports the reduction of CO2 emissions and helps to improve fuel economy.

We expect new API FA-4 oils to deliver up to 2% improved fuel economy over conventional API CK-4 SAE 15W-40s. In addition, we expect to see up to 1% better fuel economy vs. an API CK-4 SAE 10W-30 diesel engine oil in on-road service.  Lower viscosity transmission and axle fluids could also help provide fuel economy gains.

Consulting the experts

As with any business decision, we recommend fleet operators consult their engine/vehicle OEM for specific guidance regarding the recommended API performance category and SAE viscosity grade for their engines, and their lubricants supplier on which oil sub-category will be best suited for their business.

At Petro-Canada Lubricants, we have developed DURON™ Next Generation, which promises to bring new  levels  of  engine  protection  and  help  contribute  to  fuel  economy  for  waste fleet  operators—factors that will help keep every vehicle on the road for longer. For more information on the new API CK-4 and FA-4 oils and how they may benefit your fleet operations, visit

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