The ROI of Synthetic Oil for Your Fleet

Synthetic engine oil is swiftly becoming a requirement for newer vehicles and trucks with heavy-duty towing capacity. At an average cost three to four times more than conventional oil, synthetic diesel oil can raise questions among fleet owners about saving costs and keeping a profit. Though up-front costs will increase, the copious benefits of synthetic oil can drive down costs from labor, maintenance, and even fuel consumed on an annual basis.


How does this happen? The answer lies in the synthetic oil’s makeup. Unlike conventional oil, which comes from crude oil and can contain multiple types of compound molecules, synthetic oil is manufactured to contain uniform hydrocarbon molecules. This uniformity improves resistance against oxidation and stabilizes viscosity in extreme temperatures, therefore maintaining oil thickness in hot conditions and flowing easily in cold starts. Not only does this translate to better protection and less wear, but it also translates to less oil breakdown over time and longer drain intervals.


If a truck from your fleet requires an oil change 11 times per year or more of conventional oil, switching to a premium synthetic oil can nearly double the mileage between oil drain intervals (with some exceptions for extremely severe terrain or frequent stop-and-go driving). By switching to premium synthetic oil and cutting the number of oil changes almost in half, you could save thousands on oil, premium oil filters, and professional labor.


Less maintenance and higher productivity? Check. Fewer labor costs? Check. But there is another benefit that can be overlooked: fuel economy. While some industry members say synthetic oil does not improve fuel efficiency, at least not enough to consider it a serious benefit, there could still be some truth to the positive claims. Since synthetic oil is known to be cleaner and create less friction, it is more energy and fuel efficient. Even with a small, one percent increase in fuel efficiency, a fleet manager could make a dent in costs.


Let’s look at the math: If your truck hits roughly 110,000 miles annually, it will require 18,333 gallons of fuel based on an average of 6mpg. At $2.23 per gallon of diesel fuel, the cost of fuel adds up to $40,882.59 annually per truck and $817,651.80 for a 20-truck fleet. With a one percent increase in fuel efficiency, each truck would save about $404.00 annually for fuel. That is $8,080.00 for a fleet of 20 trucks. For a fleet of 50 trucks, a fleet manager could save more than $20,000.00.


While synthetic oil is touted for its physical benefits, consumers tend to ignore the ways that these benefits translate into a positive ROI in the long run. The up-front costs of synthetic oil too often overshadow these important monetary gains.  


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