Marketers Phasing Out Energy Conserving

Engine oil marketers in the Asia-Pacific region are making changes to inventories in response to the American Petroleum Institutes decision to cease licensing API SL and SM gasoline engine oil categories with its Energy Conserving designation.

Oil manufacturers and distributors have until Dec. 30, 2016 to sell or withdraw existing inventory of products labeled as Energy Conserving. In addition, marketers must submit a request to license products as API SL- or API SM-only.

Energy Conserving was declared obsolete because the Sequence VIB engine test used to measure fuel economy is no longer available. The basis of the Sequence VIB test was a mid-90s era Ford V-8 gasoline engine that is no longer manufactured.

Oils meeting API SL or API SM classifications without the Energy Conserving designation can continue to be marketed and sold. Both of these categories, alongside SJ and SN, are considered current by API standards.

Lubricant manufacturers in Asia-Pacific, such as Malaysian state-owned producer Petronas, are preparing to drop the designation from their engine oils. We are in the midst of reviewing all products with Energy Conserving designation and removing them from our product lines and supply chains, Giuseppe DArrigo, managing director and group CEO for Petronas Lubricants International, told Lube Report Asia.

Petronas has licenses to market several products as Energy Conserving. Work is underway to ensure that we meet APIs new rulingby the deadline that hasbeen set, said DArrigo. We are confident that it will not affect our supply chain, product quality and delivery.He added that the company is also in the process of updating its licenses and product marketing materials to reflect the change.

API has a similar designation called Resource Conserving for its ILSAC GF-5 and API SN category oils, which was not affected by the tests loss since it is designed around the Sequence VID test, based on a 2009 Cadillac V6 engine from General Motors. This test not only certifies fuel economy, but also measures protection of emission systems.

Gulf Oil Lubricants India Ltd., for example, said that even before APIs decision it had amended its stable of passenger car motor oils to replace Energy Conserving multigrades with API SN and ILSAC GF-5 oils with Resource Conserving, Y.P. Rao, vice president of global technology, told Lube Report Asia. Gulf still offers earlier generation oils, which have higher SAE grades, but those will not be affected by the change, since they dont fall under Energy Conserving.

Considering that India is implementing fuel efficiency norms from April 1 for light-duty passenger vehicles, SN with Resource Conserving would help compared to SL and SM with Energy Conserving, said Rao.

Rao questioned APIs decision to require marketers to re-license engine oils now qualified for Energy Conserving designation. API should have retained existing licenses for SL and SM grades by deleting Energy Conserving claims, instead of asking oil marketing companies to reapply for even the existing SL and SM licensed grades without Energy Conserving.

The Sequence VID, however, is also nearing the end of its useful life since the 2009 Cadillac engine is no longer built by GM, and the hardware is not expected to last past the third quarter of 2016. The replacement test for fuel economy and emissions system protection is Sequence VIE, which is currently in development using a 2012 Cadillac engine.