PEP Review 2007-12
Passenger Car Motor Oil: Development and Future Trends
Published: November 2007
This report provides an overview of the manufacturing, technical development and properties of passenger car motor oil (PCMO). Motor oils consist of base oils and additives. Different types of base oils are described with emphasis on the API grouping and classification. Additives are typically blended to achieve desired properties of the finished oil. Types of additives are reviewed and discussed. Motor oils provide specific functions during use. These functions and the governing specifications, including the current GF 4 specifications are presented. While the vast market share of motor oils is satisfied by the use of mineral oils, synthetic oils have been gaining in market share. A comparison of both types of oils is given and an economic perspective is outlined addressing cost/benefit analysis of synthetic oils. Trends in demand, quality, and technology of motor oil are outlined. Recent advances aimed at developing alternate and cheaper sources and improved additives are presented. Attempts to develop “environmentally friendly” motor oils based on vegetable oils, such as canola oil are discussed. The report concludes with a discussion of oil change interval. This topic has raised many questions in recent years, particularly as more efficient engines and more robust oils are developed and commercialized.