Mexican Standard Promotes Fair Practices


Mexican Standard Promotes Fair Practices
A view at night of highway traffic in Mexico approaching the California border. Photo: JustTheLetterK/Adobe Stock

A new engine oil standard that takes effect in Mexico in mid-2020 should help promote fair competition in the country’s lubricants industry, an industry insider said.

The Mexican government has received nearly 100 comments and questions from lubricant manufactures and distributors seeking greater clarity on new rules that would modify Mexico’s engine oil standards.

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Under the new standard that take effect in June, passenger car and heavy-duty diesel engine oils sold in Mexico will be required to minimize oil degradation, reduce emissions and increase drain intervals. Last year, the National Standardization Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Economy asked the automotive and lubricant industries for comments on the rules, which were then in proposal stage.

Many of the comments sought clearer wording or clarification on certain aspects of the standard, such as packaging, labeling, marketing, distribution and technical requirements.

Meanwhile, one major player in the country’s lubricant market is questioning whether the standard was needed at all, saying the government lacks reasonable arguments for the changes.

The new standard have been in the works for many years and were postponed several times for unknown reasons, Roberto Rangel Gutierrez, a consultant who advises the 15-company integrated National Association of Lubricant and Additives Companies, told Lube Report. “From my perspective it was because [the government] had not found robust arguments from a legal point of view to justify the regulations,” he said.

The new standard, NOM-116-SCFI-2018, also requires proof of compliance with American Petroleum Institute and European Automobile Manufacturers Association standards and original equipment manufacturers specifications.

Gutierrez said the primary benefit of the new standard will be promotion of fair competition by defining clear rules for passenger car motor oil and diesel engine oil lubricant makers, which will help vehicle buyers and the motor oil industry. Of the 39 million vehicles on Mexico’s roads, 72 percent use gasoline and 28 percent run on diesel. The average age is 12 years for light vehicles and 18 for commercial trucks. Mirroring other regions of the world, older and obsolete lubricants coexist with the latest specifications, according to Ward Automotive.

Currently, about 60 percent of passenger cars in Mexico use oils that meet the American Petroleum Institutes API SN or API SM specifications, while approximately 27 percent use API SJ and API SL oils. About 3 percent use API SH and SF, which API has declared obsolete.

NOM-116 creates Mexican categories that correspond to API specifications. For gasoline-powered vehicles, those categories range from GJ, which covers vehicle model years 2001 and older, to GN, which covers the latest model years. The API equivalents are SJ through SN. The proposed diesel categories are DF, DF-2, DF-4, DG-4, DH-4, DI-4, DI-4 Plus, DJ-4, DK-4 and DFA-4, aligning with APIs CF, CF-2, CF-4, CG-4, CH-4, CJ-4, CK-4 and FA-4. API has declared CG-4 and earlier categories obsolete. Mexico’s proposal would eliminate obsolete specs after three years, at which point API CH-4 would become the minimum diesel spec.

Mexico’s Ministry of Economy didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.