Data Tell Good Oils from Bad


Theres a quality problem in the industry, and executives with some of the industrys most respected companies have agreed to help Tom Glenns Petroleum Quality Institute of America try to fix it.

Two-year-old PQIA, founded and headed by Thomas F. Glenn, promotes lubricant quality in the U.S. marketplace by collecting and testing motor oil samples, and publishing the results at its web site for all to see. Last week PQIA announced the formation of an advisory board that includes executives with oil major Chevron, additive giants Lubrizol, Infineum and Afton Chemical, and several of the countrys largest independent lubricant manufacturers and distributors.

The role of the advisory board, Glenn told Lube Report, is to provide the advice, suggestions and guidance necessary to meet our mission. The advisory board will meet face-to-face twice a year, with a first meeting set for mid-July.

Chevron is supportive of efforts to make sure we have good quality oils in the marketplace, said advisory board member Steve Mulvaney, Americas technical support manager at Chevron Products Co., San Ramon, Calif. Chevron looked at PQIA, and we liked what we saw.

The big question is how to expand the program, said Glenn. The nine-member group will advise on priorities for the quality-monitoring program; on needed changes, for example whether additional tests should be added; and on meeting the challenges of testing bulk samples.

An important new addition to PQIAs program, Glenn said, is its Code of Ethical Business Conduct. The Code spells out requirements for lubricant blenders and packagers, for additive companies, for lube distributors, for retailers and for PQIA itself. PQIA requires all supporters, including both donors and members of its advisory board, to agree in writing to comply, and to provide access to their products to confirm compliance. (PQIAs Code is found at

This program has the potential to improve product quality, said Robert Schlott, chairman and CEO of Warren Distribution in Omaha, Neb., and a member of the advisory board. Tom wants to conduct a program thats above reproach. Hes looking to the board for input to ensure that.

Advisory board member Dewey Szemenyei, Afton Chemicals director of engine oil technical services in Richmond, Va., has worked with the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association, America Petroleum Institute and American Chemistry Council on their quality programs. Blenders do not always understand all the nuances involved in the formulations, he said. We can help educate people to better understand formulations and the reasons for the chemical and physical targets we provide them with.

And, Szemenyei added, there are some unscrupulous people selling improperly labeled products. We hope to identify some of those people, too.

PQIA very much respects the efforts of API and ILMA and recognizes all the great effort they have put into this cause, noted Glenn. We see PQIA as a complimentary mission that takes a little different approach as regards the wider sharing of information to the marketplace. We believe that this open sharing of results will act as a deterrent to those who have or are considering not abiding by API, ACC and related industry specifications and accepted practices.

All of us are concerned about oil quality. The advisory board can help make sure things are done correctly, said advisory board member Stephen Milam, president and CEO of Lubricating Specialties Co. in Pico Rivera, Calif. Tom is going to let the data speak for itself.

The PQIA web site,, highlights egregious cases of substandard oil in Consumer Alerts. Three motor oils currently sit in this hall of shame, with the warning that they should not be used in an automobile engine, as they could cause serious engine damage. These are Everclear 5W-30 Motor Oil, Liberty Gold Plus SMO 5W-30 Motor Oil, and Bullseye Automotive Products High Mileage 10W-30 Motor Oil. PQIA testing showed that all three oils were blatantly mislabeled and did not meet any recognized specifications.

Metuchen, N.J.-based PQIAs web site, slated for upgrading this summer, provides complete test results for all the motor oils collected and sampled, including major and private label brands from around the country.

Members of the new PQIA advisory board are:

Ken Kalisky, Americas Sales Director, Infineum
Stephen Milam, President and CEO, Lubricating Specialties Co.
Kimball L. Morris, CEO, Pinnacle Oil
Steve Mulvaney, Manager, Americas Technical Support, Chevron Products Co.
Doug Roberts, Executive Director, Association of Independent Oil Distributors/ServicePro
Thomas Schaefer, retired Vice President-Sales & Marketing, Hatco
Robert Schlott, Chairman and CEO, Warren Distribution
Mayur Shah, Global Engine Oil Additives Technology Manager, Lubrizol Corp.
Dewey Szemenyei, Director of Customer Technical Services-Engine Oils, Afton Chemical Co.

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