Handbook 130 Adds European Specs

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The U.S. National Conference on Weights and Measures will amend motor oil guidelines to encourage the identification of engine oil performance specifications on products that dont fall under any licensable API or SAE classification, such as those recommended by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

These changes occurred as the result of a vote at the 99th annual NCWM meeting on July 15. The changes will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, and will be published later this year in the 2015 edition of the Handbook 130, the guidebook for metrology and motor fuel standards developed by the NCWM and published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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NCWM will recommend that all motor oil containers – including storage tanks, dispensers, retail packages, and bulk receptacles – identify oils meeting the European Automobile Manufacturers Associations (ACEA) specifications when applicable. Many European vehicle manufacturers recommend oils meeting ACEA specifications for their vehicles sold in the U.S.

The same labeling recommendations extend to invoices or receipts from installation services using oil dispensed from any of these containers.

If a particular oil meets a vehicle or engine manufacturers standard, but does not meet any SAE, API or ACEA standards, the label must clearly identify that the oil is only intended for use where specifically recommended by the vehicle or engine manufacturer.

The Automotive Oil Change Association encouraged and supported the changes. The amendments basically address AOCAs point from the beginning, which is that national guidelines should reflect that which is required in the marketplace, AOCAs policy advisor, Joanna Johnson, told Lube Report. In the case of fast lubes, operators have to be able to use whatever the vehicle manufacturer requires, she said, pointing out that in addition to including ACEA standards, the Handbook 130 amendments also address the instances in which original equipment manufacturers have direct-approved oils.

If its API, great. If its ACEA, great, and so on, she said. These changes, however, also take into account OEM-direct approved engine oil – which reflects reality, she continued. Its good for everybody. It protects everybody throughout the supply chain.

Stephen Benjamin, director of North Carolinas Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services Standards Division, concurred, mentioning that everyone in attendance at the NCWM meeting seemed to agree that the changes will likely be beneficial to all involved. The [amendments] are basically a tweak to existing guidelines that provide further clarification for regulators, he told Lube Report.

[State regulators] have been trying to recognize engine oil specifications other than standard American categories such as API and SAE for quite some time, Benjamin said. If a certain type of oil is intended for a European-made vehicle, but isnt necessarily licensed by API, for instance, it should still be labeled, and those particular specifications should still be identified, and thats what this amendment promotes.

Although many U.S. states automatically adopt NCWM recommendations and guidelines in their regulations, NCWM can only provide recommendations and guidance, and some states choose to adopt only some, or sometimes none, of the recommendations.

NCWM, based in Lincoln, Neb., is an association of state and local weights and measures officials, federal agencies, and others that develop national weights and measures standards.