API’s ‘MOM’ Initiative Takes Wings


The American Petroleum Institutes Motor Oil Matters initiative is taking wings, with the first group of licensees expected to receive their certification by Dec. 1.

Distributors and installers will be able to register for licensing beginning next month and will be able to display a trademarked logo that signals to buyers their participation in the quality monitoring program.

MOM has its roots in a 2009 initiative undertaken by Shell Oil, which transferred the program to API last year so that all distributors and installers could participate. API has been monitoring the quality of engine oils sold in containers on the retail market since 1994 under its Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System.

According to the MOM website, the program has one main goal: to make sure that consumers receive high-quality oil. This happens by maintaining a secure chain of custody for motor oil from oil marketer to distributor to installer to vehicle.

Were going to level the playing field, Ferrick told Lube Report. With MOM, he said, distributors, installers and consumers will understand that high-quality motor oils protect engines and warranties. They will be more aware of automakers recommendations and the importance of asking for viscosity grade and performance standards. Consumers will ask for quality oils and written proof of an oils viscosity grade, brand and performance standard.

However, API says there will be a slight delay from the previously anticipated July launch. We ran a pilot program recently that brought up a few issues that we need to correct, said Kevin Ferrick, APIs Engine Oil Program Manager. We want to be sure there are no glitches and everything is as it should be before formally launching the application process.

Ferrick noted that it is normal when new standards are released for there to be a waiting period between the initial applications and the issuing of the first licenses.

While there has been some concern expressed, MOM has generally received a positive response, says Ferrick. Weve had many distributors and installers reaching out to us.

An analyst with Kline and Co. called the program long overdue and said it should be an effective way for the industry to police itself and recognize suppliers and distributors that are playing by the rules and delivering the correct product that end users are paying for and expect to receive in return.

I would expect however that an individual distributor once it is certified by the API, will tout its recognition and certification in its sales territory, which will raise awareness among vehicle owners, said George Morvey, U.S.-based project manager with Kline.

API intends to expand on Shells original program and raise the level of awareness among vehicle owners, Morvey said, adding, That in my opinion will be the challenge given manpower and budget.

Pat Wirth, president of the Dallas-based Automotive Oil Change Association, voiced concern about the burden it places on fast lube operators, citing the paper trail required to meet MOM reporting requirements.

While Ferrick says that MOM procedures wont change the operational practices of most distributors and installers, Wirth told LubesnGreases magazine that care must be taken to ensure requirements dont become too onerous, since fast lubes generally dont have dedicated administrative support staff. Wirth owns an Xpress Lube outlet in Fairfax Station. Va.

The full story, Shoring Up the Quality Wall, will appear in LubesnGreases July issue scheduled to be mailed this week to subscribers.

(David McFall contributed to this report.)

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