Some developments on the lubrication front. It isn’t due out in the market anytime soon, but it does show how going thin can achieve better fuel consumption.

It’s a 0W-10 ultra low viscosity concept engine lubricant developed by Shell, in collaboration with Gordon Murray Design, and in field use has shown up to a 6.5% improvement in fuel efficiency, a very tangible step up from the usual 2.5% gained in typical fuel economy lubricant development programmes.

GMD’s T.25 city car provided the test bed for the concept oil, which obtained the 6.5% urban cycle figure based on repeated testing with NEDC-based parameters at an independent laboratory in a series of chassis dynamometer tests – in a combined cycle, testing yielded a 4.6% improvement. The concept lubricant was pitted against a a typical European midtier product, a 10W-30 weight oil.

In field use, the T.25 – utilising the 0W-10 oil – won the award for the most economic small, passenger internal-combustion engine vehicle in the RAC Future Car Challenge last year, achieving 96 mpg in the process.

Not that it’s all just all to do with passenger cars, the being more efficient bit. In the area of commercial transportation, the benefits from better lube are evident too. In a field test very recently, nine identical trucks were monitored over 55,000 km, with four using Shell Rimula R6 LME and five, a 10W-40 reference.

The company says that the trucks running on its Rimula R6 LME obtained a 2% reduction in fuel consumption, which works out to an equivalent of over 1,000 litres of fuel per truck per year.

With changes in legislation and new emission standards afoot, improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions isn’t just something to be left just to automakers. Granted, a 0W-10 viscosity oil isn’t likely be for every vehicle when it arrives, and arguably not here what with our climate conditions, but it does showcase how you can lean out things and squeeze out more, as would be the case.