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A brief guide to determining oil efficiency

One of the things that is often overlooked when selecting an oil is the issue of energy efficiency. Different oil brands like Shell, Fuchs and Mobil will have oils that are more or less efficient than each other, as well as having products that differ in efficiency within their own brands – for example, what you get from Mobil Velocite 3 might be very different to Mobilgear 600 XP 460.

Since a more efficient oil could give you big savings over the lifetime of your machinery, you need to be able to determine the energy efficiency of any oil you are interested in using.

Measuring energy efficiency

The energy efficiency of any lubricant should be measured in terms of the reduction in its energy consumption. This means that the efficiency of any particular lubricant can be determined by working out how much of it is consumed by a machine in order to carry out its operations.

This is something that can be applied to all kinds of machines, including those that use combustion engines and those that convert chemical energy to electrical energy, among others.

The way you need to look at it is that a machine that requires less oil to carry out its operations is more efficient, so an oil that goes further is an oil that is more energy efficient, simply because you need to use less of it to get the job done.

Lower operating temperature

Another good way of determining the energy efficiency of a lubricant is to measure the temperature of your machinery when it is operating. The lower the operating temperature of a machine, the more energy efficient it is, and this should be a good indicator of the efficacy of the oil.

This is a particularly good method of determining energy efficiency in gearboxes and electric motors.


When testing, you will need to bear in mind that the conditions under which you perform your tests will need to be kept identical. So, for example, you will need to test in surroundings of the same temperature, use the same amount of lubricant and the same load, and perform the same functions on each test to ensure that you get the best value for money.

Basically, you may need to try out different oils to see which ones offer the most energy savings. It is very rare that you can simply work out which oils will be more efficient without first testing them out in the field.

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