Amsoil Motor Oils are World Class

European motor oils are widely recognized as among the highest quality in the world. In Europe, vehicles and engines tend to be significantly smaller than their American counterparts, thus demanding superior lubricants that keep heat, friction and wear to a minimum. Tighter environmental standards overseas further justify Europe’s need for high-quality engine lubricants that decrease emissions, increase fuel economy and promote longer drain intervals (European motor oil companies and automobile manufacturers typically recommend drain intervals between 12,000 and 18,000 miles). While most American motor oils don’t meet the higher standards of European oils, AMSOIL INC. has over 30 years experience manufacturing synthetic motor oils that deliver superior wear protection, longer drain capabilities, and improved fuel economy. AMSOIL Motor Oils meet or exceed the toughest worldwide standards and are truly “world class oils.”   

AMSOIL INC. was the first U.S. oil manufacturer to make synthetic motor oils for automotive applications, the first in the U.S. to utilize the NOACK volatility test as a standard of performance, the originator of extended drain intervals in the U.S. market, and the first to make legitimate claim to making lubricants that actually improve fuel economy. In many respects, AMSOIL INC. set the standards by which motor oils are measured in the U.S.

American Motor Oil Specifications

So, just how are motor oil standards set in America, and how do AMSOIL Motor Oils compare? In order to establish an efficient and organized way to introduce newly upgraded engine oil specifications to the marketplace, the American Petroleum Institute (API) established the Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System in 1993. Under the system, it is up to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to indicate a need for a new oil, while the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) establishes the tests and testing limits and API administers licensing and auditing. The first “Gasoline-Fueled” standard, GF-1, was introduced in late 1993. Two years later, with tighter performance requirements, GF-2 was approved. Most recently, an SAE Task Force chaired by Toyota’s John Shipinski stated in May 1997 that “a new gasoline engine oil performance category was needed” and identified improved fuel economy, improved emissions systems protection and “general oil performance improvement” as the most pressing needs for the next category of motor oils. After several delays, GF-3 was finally approved in late 2001 and has quickly translated into API SL motor oils. 

Fuel Economy

One of the major successes of GF-3 is the improved fuel economy standards. According to General Motors’ Mike McMillan, “We now have retained fuel economy up to 4,000 miles, a major improvement. There were no limits like that in GF-2 and some of those oils lost all of their fuel economy improvement as they aged. You can throw a number out, but my estimate is that we’veimproved fuel economy somewhere between one half and a full percent over GF-2.” Fuel economy limits for GF-3 oils are measured by the Sequence VIB engine test, with different standards for different viscosity grades:

• 0W-20 and 5W-20 oil grades must demonstrate a 2 percent fuel economy improvement after 16 hours of testing and a 1.7 percent improvement after 96 hours when compared with a reference oil.

• 0W-30 and 5W-30 oil grades must demonstrate a 1.7 percent fuel economy improvement after 16 hours of testing and a 1.3 percent improvement after 96 hours when compared with a reference oil, and the sum of the two must be at least 3 percent.

• For all other viscosity grades, the limits and minimums are 0.09 percent, 0.06 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils are already far ahead of the curve when it comes to fuel economy. When compared with conventional automotive lubricants, AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils have been shown to yield significant increases in fuel economy. Petroleum lubricants are composed of irregular molecules of various sizes, making them susceptible to volatility and creating excess friction. The vehicle’s engine has to burn extra fuel to overcome this friction, decreasing fuel economy. AMSOIL synthetic lubricants contain only smooth, uniform molecules, which reduces hydrodynamic friction, and they are highly resistant to oil volatility, which maintains viscosity and further reduces friction to allow more fuel to be used for the task of propelling the vehicle, improving fuel economy. Industry tests demonstrate that an average passenger car can conservatively decrease its fuel consumption by 2 to 5 percent by switching to synthetic lubricants, while independent AMSOIL testing shows that trucks can decrease fuel consumption by 8.2 percent. 

Oxidative Stability

Tied in with fuel economy improvement is improved oxidative stability. Although improved oxidative stability wasn’t identified as a specific goal for GF-3, it was an area that needed to be addressed in order to achieve improved fuel economy over the life of the oil. AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils resist oxidation longer than petroleum motor oils, maintaining their cooling and lubricating effectiveness far longer than conventional motor oils, while keeping the engine clean and maintaining efficient fuel consumption. 


The volatility properties of GF-3 oils are improved, lowering oil consumption, extending oil life, easing stress on catalytic converters and improving fuel economy. AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils keep oil consumption at an absolute minimum. Where conventional motor oils can lose up to 15 percent of their original weight in high-temperature conditions, which thickens the oil and contributes to poor circulation, reduced fuel economy, excessive emissions and engine wear, AMSOIL Motor Oils effectively resist vaporization. In fact, AMSOIL Motor Oils easily surpass rigorous European volatility standards, set at 13 percent weight loss. According to AMSOIL Laboratory Director Dave Leitten, “I expect volatility requirements to become increasingly tighter with each new performance category. AMSOIL is well ahead of the game in this area.”

Emissions System Protection

An initial goal for GF-3 was to reduce phosphorus levels in engine oils. The primary source of phosphorus in engine oils is in antiwear additives called ZDDP’s. Although these additives are extremely effective in wear reduction, some manufacturers believe phosphorus contaminants are harmful to vehicles’ catalytic converters. However, since there is not total agreement in the automotive and lubrication industries on this belief, and since automakers weren’t comfortable reducing the level of ZDDP in engine oils and sacrificing wear protection, the goal was put on hold for the upcoming GF-4 agenda. GF-3 does, however, still offer improved emissions system protection through improved oil consumption specifications. The less a motor oil vaporizes, the less phosphorus contaminants end up in the exhaust. Motor oils that demonstrate low volatility present less risk to catalytic converters, despite their phosphorus levels. Because AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils keep oil consumption to an absolute minimum, potentially damaging phosphorus contaminants are not an issue. AMSOIL Motor Oils offer the ultimate in both wear protection and emissions system protection, period.

High-Temperature Deposits

GF-3 addresses high-temperature deposits using the IIIF and TEOST tests, but the level of improvement is debatable. “We made substantial improvement in addressing high-temperature deposits using the IIIF and TEOST tests,” says Mike McMillan of General Motors. “Our reference oil tests show that.” However, according to Pete Misangyi of Ford, “We didn’t get enough in deposit control. Antioxidant or long-life aspects could have been done better. The category could have been more robust from the engine oil life side. We’ve got improved base stocks and the category ought to have taken better advantage of that.” The synthetic formulation of AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils so effectively resists oxidation, they naturally run cleaner than conventional petroleum motor oils. “At AMSOIL, we use only the finest detergent/dispersant additives during the blending process, and this effectively keeps deposits under control for extended drain intervals,” said Leitten. 

Low-Temperature Pumpability 

GF-3 improvements in the area of low-temperature pumpability were minimal. “The viscometric properties of motor oils at low temperatures can and do change very fast,” says Dennis Florkowski of DaimlerChrysler. “I think it’s reasonable to expect [aging] oil to retain its pumpability characteristics throughout the entire drain interval. We owe this to our customers. We were not successful with this in GF-3.” Conventional lubricants contain parafins, or waxes, that thicken and inhibit flow in cold weather conditions. In fact, conventional motor oils may leave critical working parts unprotected for five full minutes after startup. Synthetic motor oils do not contain parafins, and they remain fluid in low temperatures. AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils exhibit outstanding low-temperature pumpability throughout extended drain intervals, permitting easy engine cranking in the most frigid conditions for quick starts and immediate post-startup protection. 

Coming Soon: GF-4

Although GF-3 standards are not even a year old, work has begun on the next engine oil standard, GF-4, and the auto industry would like to see it implemented by spring 2004. The list of priorities for GF-4 include even tighter fuel economy specifications, emissions system protection, improved wear protection, reduced phosphorus levels, used-oil pumpability and extended drain intervals. While some engine oil manufacturers have struggled to meet GF-3 specifications and look forward to the new standard with worry and uneasiness, AMSOIL Dealers can rest easy knowing that AMSOIL Motor Oils are world-class products blended to meet the toughest worldwide specifications.