Bulk Oils Draw Regulators’ Gaze

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New national guidelines going into effect July 1 will require professional oil change facilities to identify and label the viscosity, brand and service category-and include a warning if the category is obsolete-for all oil installed from bulk motor oil containers and to include that information on each oil change transaction receipt.

The new provisions are included in Handbook 130, the guidebook for motor oil quality standards developed by the National Conference on Weights and Measures and published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The new enforceable guidelines expand the scope of the regulations Handbook 130 established last August to include not just packaged oils but also bulk motor oils. All oil delivered via tanks, dispensers, intermediate bulk containers, kegs, or drums is now subject to labeling regulation.

Also new is the requirement to include a warning on invoices or receipts if oil used in a transaction falls under an obsolete service category. For example, API SF is outdated, and if used, would need to include a warning: not suitable for use in most gasoline powered automotive engines built after 1988.

The Automotive Oil Change Associations policy advisor Joanna Johnson noted, however, that this presents an issue. The new rules in Handbook 130 refer to engine oil labels as needing to contain either a current API specification or an inactive/obsolete designation for former API specifications that are no longer licensed, Johnson told Lube Report. However, there are automakers that dont use APIs licensing program for their proprietary engine oils, which means they may not choose to cross reference an API specification. They also wont include either of the terms inactive or obsolete, because their oils are manufacturer-recommended and were never under APIs system in the first place.

AOCA helped NCWM craft the most recent adjustments to Handbook 130. The engine oil labeling and receipt requirements passed last year needed small but crucial amendments in order to make them useful for everyone, Johnson said. AOCA is currently working on a clarification with NCWMs Fuels & Lubricants Subcommittee to help those on the enforcement side avoid confusion over manufacturer-approved engine oils that are not API licensed, Johnson said. One example might be General Motors proprietary Dexos specification, which is not an API category.

Johnson said AOCA also felt that the receipt requirements needed to be extended in kind to distributors so installers wouldnt be forced to vouch for product specificity not first guaranteed in writing by their distributors. This revision is also include in the new edition of Handbook 130.

Through its Motor Oil Matters program, the American Petroleum Institute is helping distributors and oil change locations comply with the guidelines and those of its API 1525A, Bulk Engine Oil Chain of Custody and Quality Documentation licensing standards.

In 1525A, the location is instructed to order oils by brand, viscosity grade and service category; the distributor documents this information at delivery to the location; the locations hose reel identifies the viscosity and service category; and the receipt provides brand, viscosity grade and service category, APIs global industry services manager Kevin Ferrick told Lube Report. An oil change location that follows 1525A should be in good shape for any states adopting Handbook 130 guidelines.

API recommends that distributors and instalers consider becoming licensed under MOM. That would be an ideal way for locations to show that theyre taking steps to better assure oil quality, Ferrick continued.

I think its reasonable for oil change locations to identify the product theyre installing in vehicles, and I think all oil change consumers will benefit from more information on the oil installed, Ferrick said. Note, however, that these locations deserve to know the brand, viscosity grade and service category of the oil delivered to them by distributors.

States are not required to adopt the regulations, but API noted in a recent press release that most states consider Handbook 130 in setting labeling regulations, and that MOM recommends that oil change locations and distributors check their local laws to determine whether their state has adopted the latest Handbook 130 [amendments].

During the last quarter of 2012, AOCA surveyed all of the state agencies to determine their intended course of action. The results were published in AOCAs State by State Enforcement Guide, which is available free to members and for a fee to the general public.

Handbook 130 lists 20 states that may begin adopting the regulations as of July 1: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Ferrick said that he assumes all these states will adhere to the new policy.

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