Shell Shifts ‘Motor Oil Matters’ to API

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Shell is transferring its Motor Oil Matters consumer education program to the American Petroleum Institute – andasserted that its flush oil sales are consistent with the principles of product quality promoted by that program.

We had two goals for the Motor Oil Matters initiative, Shell told Lube Report. The first is to educate consumers about the benefits of using quality motor oil to help engines perform optimally. API will continue these efforts as it expands Motor Oil Matters into an industry-wide program.

The second, which we are continuing to pursue, is to halt unauthorized installers that illegally display and advertise Pennzoil and Quaker State trademarks, yet fail to deliver these branded oils.

API plans to work with its members and licensees to further develop Motor Oil Matters as a resource to educate consumers about the importance of using high-quality motor oils, applying its message to APIs Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System. The www.motoroilmatters.org web site provides consumer information about motor oils and emphasizes the importance of using quality motor oils that meet key specifications and requirements.

Motor Oil Matters was launched last year with the hope it would become an industry-wide campaign, Pennzoil-Quaker State Growth Manager Elizabeth Boehm-Miller said. I expect the transition to API to be complete by the end of the year.

A lot of the material that theyve got is pretty much common sense information we thought would be useful, API engine oil licensing manager Kevin Ferrick told Lube Report. When we had discussions with Shell, they thought it would be a good idea for us to take it on. Theyre essentially asking us to take this from a company-specific item, to something that spreads across all of the industry.

No money has changed hands, according to Ferrick, and funding for the program is yet to be determined. Motor Oil Matters advertisements are running in several publications, including LubesnGreases and National Oil & Lube News. Handling existing ad contracts is something that still needs to be worked out, he said.

API also plans to expand its Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System. We expect to improve the way the certification program addresses licensed oils sold in bulk and to improve licensed engine oil testing to confirm API-licensed oils meet API performance standards, Ferrick said.

Although taking on Motor Oil Matters did not require API Lubricants Committee approval, Ferrick noted, We did give the committee the courtesy of letting them know we wanted to do this, and we asked if there were any real objections, and there werent any.

Boehm-Miller added that Shell is pleased API is taking over the program because we share the same purpose, values and commitment to quality.

Jobbers World’s Flush OilQuestions
The May 11 issue of Jobbers World newsletter from Petroleum Trends International challenged Shells commitment to the goals of the Motor Oil Matters program. Jobbers World said it has fielded questions from marketers about Shells sale of line wash (or flush oil) into the U.S. market.

How does Shell reconcile its recent efforts (Motor Oil Matters) to promote quality lubricants … while it sells flush oil to others who, some believe, resell this Shell product as engine oil meeting current specs? Jobbers World asked.

And How can a Shell marketer compete with the low priced flush oil Shell sells into the market?

In response, Shell told Lube Report, Our approach to the sale of flush oil is consistent with the principles of product quality and integrity that we communicate through Motor Oil Matters. As a competitor in the motor oil marketplace, we object to anyone misrepresenting flush oil as quality, on-spec motor oil. If we were to have convincing evidence that someone was selling this flush oil as a low-cost motor oil, whether under one of our motor oil brands or simply from Shell, we would take steps to stop any such sale to the buyer in question.

The company continued, We sell flush oil to be used appropriately by other companies. The amount we sell annually is around three to four million gallons…. Flush oil is virgin product that is suitable for a variety of uses, such as a blend component in a hydraulic fluid, bar and chain oil or process oil, packaged under a private label.

We clearly communicate to flush oil buyers the possible components of the material and do not make any guarantees regarding the substances characteristics, because they vary from batch to batch, Shell said. We also clearly communicate that the flush oils we sell are not to be resold under any Shell or Pennzoil-Quaker State Co. trademark.

Shell noted that it has initiatives underway to reduce the flush oil output from its facilities. For example, we are making fluid-handling improvements to our largest facility that will result in a 75 percent reduction of flush oil produced, the company told Lube Report.

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