The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has approved so-called “bio” lube oil for use in all of its local delivery vehicles in either the Los Angeles or Denver districts. The test program is the first large-scale, regular use of the new engine oil made by Agro Management Group (AMG) of Colorado Springs.

The USPS has been testing the oil — derived from canola — in a number of in-use vehicles for several years. Researchers also are examining bio oil production from soybeans — a much larger U.S. crop than canola — employing a bio-engineered soybean that contains the vital oleic acid content found in the canola-based bio oil.

The oil has proven to cut gasoline-engine hydrocarbon emissions by 35% and carbon monoxide by 20%. But a major plus, say the engineers, is that the bio oil does not contain zinc-dialkyldithiophos-phate (ZDP), an additive found in nearly all mineral oils that is detrimental to exhaust catalysts. Early testing also shows a meaningful reduction in oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions, although it has not yet been determined why the use of bio oil has delivered that benefit. The oil also has a biodegradability factor of more than 97%.

The product, called AMG2000, would sell for about $2.50 per quart, once it hits the retail market, says AMG.

WAW understands a major U.S. automaker has committed to dynamometer-testing AGRO's vegetable oil engine lubricant, seeking to validate the Federal Test Procedure emissions reductions measured by ATL, E. Liberty, OH, an Environmental Protection Agency approved testing laboratory.