One of the largest evolutions in modern cars has been engine technology. In recent years as government proposed significantly higher CAFE standards, vehicle manufacturers have focused on increasing fuel economy through the development of high efficiency engines, often with turbo charger and gasoline direct injection, which are designed to run on thinner motor oils. To provide proper lubrication for these engines, which have tighter tolerances and higher operating temperatures, lubricant manufacturers developed modern day motor oils which focus on zero-weight (0W) grades such as SAE 0W-40, 0W-30, 0W-20 and more recently, 0W-16.

The development of zero-weight (0W) motor oils came as a need to reduce emissions, improve fuel economy and engine efficiency while continuing to provide engine protection. Pennzoil full synthetic 0W motor oils provide faster low temperature flow and protection in extreme heat.

“With more new vehicles requiring 0W oils, the number of 0W oil changes performed by quick lube operators, repair shops and auto dealers has increased substantially over the past few years,” said Don Moser, DIFM Channel Marketing Team Lead. “As more OEMs require unique 0W formulations this will likely result in operators having to carry additional 0W products. Most domestic and many Asian import vehicles currently requiring 5W-20 may also use 0W-20. Offering a 0W-20 in place of a 5W-20 is an opportunity to offer improved fuel efficiency benefits to consumers and reduce the number of bulk tanks and oil varieties stored on shelves.”

In response to these changing needs, Pennzoil now offers a portfolio of 0W motor oils designed to meet the specifications of modern vehicle engine requirements including:

Low viscosity motor oils enable easier flow upon cold starts to quickly reach and lubricate engine parts and provide better fuel economy benefits compared to higher viscosity grades such as SAE 5W and SAE 10W viscosity grade motor oils – and doing so without any compromise in engine protection or performance. Pennzoil Platinum SAE 0W-20 is also suitable for SAE 5W-20 applications.

Benefits of Low Viscosity Motor Oil made with Natural Gas

Lower viscosity grades made with Pennzoil’s synthetic base oils positively impacts fuel efficiency, provides outstanding performance in extreme temperatures and protect against engine deposits and wear. Unlike traditional synthetic motor oils made from crude, Pennzoil Platinum and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum full synthetic motor oils are made with natural gas.

“At Pennzoil, our technology team understands that one way to achieve fuel economy benefit is to lower the viscosity of the lubricant and reduce the viscous drag for the oil within the engine,” said Sean Nguyen, Pennzoil Project Leader. “So, our goal is always to provide the correct viscosity lubricant that still provides the highest level of protection and durability. That’s what we’ve done with Pennzoil Platinum and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum full synthetic 0W motor oils, which are made with natural gas. They are engineered to provide unbeatable engine protection.” 

In 2018, Pennzoil Platinum SAE 0W-16 Full Synthetic motor oil was introduced in North America and is recommended for use in all vehicles requiring SAE 0W-16 viscosity grade motor oils. This includes the Toyota Camry 2.5L and Honda Fit, to name a few. Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic SAE 0W-16 is engineered to provide better fuel economyand enable better performance with respect to oxidation stability, deposit control and wear protection than required by the toughest industry standards2.

SAE 0W-16 motor oils will not be suitable for use in older engines. We recommend that you consult the owner’s manual for the correct viscosity grade and motor oil recommendation required for your vehicle.

ILSAC GF-6 Oils Coming in 2020

The industry’s ongoing push for improved fuel economy has driven the need for engine downsizing and has increased the application of Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection (TGDI) engines, which require increased protection against Low-Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI) and timing chain wear. ILSAC GF-6 motor oils will meet the requirements of modern engines currently unmet by GF-5.

GF-6 motor oils will be split into two sub-categories and each will provide important engine protection when they penetrate the market in May 2020. GF-6A will be backward compatible with GF-5 oils and GF-6B is a new standard specifically for SAE 0W-16 motor oils and will not be backward compatible with previous categories.

Shell Lubricants has already completed the testing protocol for a number of Pennzoil Full Synthetic oils, and based on those results, expects the following products to meet the ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B standards.

  • ILSAC GF-6A:
    • Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oils – SAE 0W-20, SAE 5W-20, SAE 5W-30 and SAE 10W-30
    • Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage Full Synthetic Motor Oils - SAE 0W-20, SAE 5W-20, SAE 5W-30 and SAE 10W-30
  • ILSAC GF-6B:
    • Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil - SAE 0W-16

With the continued development of high efficiency engines and the growing use of 0W oils and new engine oil standards coming in 2020, Pennzoil is prepared to meet the challenges. More than 40 years of research and development went into the creation of Pennzoil Synthetic motor oil made with natural gas and continuous testing on the racetrack and elsewhere ensure that Pennzoil is prepared to provide the protection needed for advanced engine technology.


I own a service location. How can carrying 0W oils be a benefit for my business? 

0W products are suitable for use in vehicles that recommend a heavier 5W or 10W viscosity grades as long as the second number matches. They offer the same engine protection as their heavier weight counterparts. They also provide added benefits of faster flow to reach critical engine components better than a 5W or 10W oil, especially in extreme cold conditions and at engine start-up. 0W oils also provide improved fuel economy as compared to their 5W and 10W counterparts. Consumers can gain these benefits if they switch from a 5W-20 to a 0W-20 once their vehicles are no longer under manufacturer warranty. While the vehicle is under warranty, we advise customers to follow the OEM recommendation. The 0W benefits become part of the conversation when helping consumers determine which oil is right for them and their vehicle and helps establish the credibility of the service writer to impart their knowledge on the consumers.  

Carrying a 0W product in lieu of the corresponding 5W or 10W also allows an owner to reduce the complexity in their offering and number of products needed in inventory. More than half of new cars are filled with 0W engine oils in North America (per Kline data), ensuring you have the product available to service newer vehicles on the road.



1 Based on Sequence VIF fuel economy test

2 Based on Sequence III-H, IVA