The demand for plant-derived oils has increased substantially over the last decade, and is sure to keep growing. While there has been a surge in research efforts to produce plants with improved oil content and quality, in most cases the enhancements have been small. To add further complexity to this situation, substantial differences in seed oil traits among years and field locations have indicated that plant lipid biosynthesis is also influenced to a large extent by multiple environmental factors such as temperature, drought, light availability and soil nutrients. On the molecular and biochemical levels, the expression and/or activities of fatty acid desaturases, as well as diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1, have been found to be affected by abiotic factors, suggesting that they play a role in the lipid content and compositional changes seen under abiotic stress conditions. Unfortunately, while only a very small number of strategies have been developed as of yet to minimize these environmental effects on the production of storage lipids, it is clear that this feat will be of the utmost importance for developing superior oil crops with the capability to perform in a consistent manner in field conditions in the future.