API Updates Bulk Oil Guidelines


API Updates Bulk Oil Guidelines
Bulk engine oil in drums at an automotive service station. © Max4e Photo

The American Petroleum Institute last week published an updated version of API 1525A, a document setting guidelines for managing the chain of custody for engine oils transported in bulk. The second edition was written to bring the document into accordance with new supply chain practices and to harmonize it with federal regulations.

Titled “Bulk Engine Oil Chain of Custody and Quality Documentation,” 1525A is meant to ensure that engine oils produced by lubricant blenders match the qualities of formulas licensed as meeting API oil sequences and that nothing goes amiss with products on their way from blending tank to the engines they will lubricate.

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“Oil marketers, distributors and installers of engine oil who use API 1525A and have committed to supplying API licensed engine oils will ensure that consumers always receive high-quality oil,” API Senior Manager Jeffrey Harmening said in a Nov. 17 news release. “Oils meeting API specifications will provide the required protection for today’s modern engines and enable them to operate optimally and efficiently which in turn reduces their carbon footprint.”

API and the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee are the two main developers of engine oil standards in North America. API and ILSAC specifications define the performance requirements for American and Japanese light-duty vehicles and U.S. heavy-duty trucks, and the organizations’ logos are used to identify products meeting those requirements.

API 1525A attempts to ensure that that performance reaches end users when oils are transported in bulk. For example it advises blenders to test lubricants before transporting them to confirm that products are being manufactured to specifications. Marketers are also admonished to maintain tracking systems that can be used to trace products back up the supply chain.

The document gives lubricant distributors and installers procedures for continuing to document the chain of custody. It also instructs installers about information to provide so that consumers may make intelligent choices about the oils they purchase and to provide written and electronic notification of the products they receive.

As a trade association, API has no authority to enforce its guidelines, but since 2017 1525A has been adopted into Handbook 130, which is published by the federal government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology and developed by the National Conference on Weights and Measures. Guidelines in Handbook 130 are adopted as law in numerous states.

API 1525A and other API publications can be viewed for free here.