API friend or fiend?

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Oct 1, 2002
North TX
Is this a regulatory agency or something more political? It appears that there are several oil producers that have very good products but do not bear this coveted stamp of approval. I could understand a 69 cent qt. of oil not being up to par but not the "upper end" synthetics. Do they not match the current standards (SL for instance) or do they simply not want to pay to be certified? Or none of the above? Please enlighten me.
A lot of their decisions are political. For instance, the reduction in phosphorus. This doesn't benefit engine wear, this only helps (supposedly) prolong the cat convertor life.
RTexas, Api is a reglatory agency.. it is not mandated that oil companies comply with the standards that api regulate. The decission to lower one additive or increase another is not api's doing, but the manufacture engineers to start with.. proposed to and by the Society of Engineers Assoc (SAE) then ASTM designs tests to demonstrate and qualify an oil's capability to handle the new proposed standard set by SAE, and API is a clearing house that is used to establish the simple fact of if that oil has gone and met the new standards set by the SAE. There may be several reasons why oil companies that don't comply. Mostly, because they don't want to meet the requirements such as lowering the antiwear additives, and the other reason is they haven't done that actual tests required to establish if it does meet those standards so they cannot prove to the api it complies. Its the actual tests that cost so much not the license by api as it isn't all that much. around $800.00 plus a small percentage over a million gallons.. I'm sure many see it as politics buy it's just a standard set and monitored by these agencies.
The API literally means the "American Petroleum Institute." It is more political than one thinks. For many years they fought against certifying any synthetics because they competed against their fellow petroleum companies. When the synthetic manufacturers suggested a separate set of tests for synthetics and a separate certifiying agency, the API changed their tune. Anytime money is involved things get political. I am not saying it's bad politics or that politics is inherently evil, it's just the way things work.
I'm inclined to say that they are mostly foe. As Molakule reminded us, they are supposed to be about petroleum (oil) but have been more concerned about extending the life of cheaply-made catalytic converters than setting standards and ensuring oils on the shelf protect engines better. Definition of the word "synthetic," anyone?? Might as well call them the API: American Political Institute or the AEI: American Emissions Institute. [Roll Eyes] --- Bror Jace
The licensing process it not so difficult. $675 a year and something like 7 cents a drum over a million gallons. It also does not require actual testing. As a blender you buy an additive package that says "when mixed in a certain % with "X" type base oil, it will pass API "Y". That formulation is then submitted to the API. All oil you produce from then til you tell the API otherwise must follow that formula and have a tracability code. If you get a better deal on a different additive package, you would have to re-apply. There are a lot of blenders who vary formulations based on the spot market for additives or base stock rather than limiting their choices.
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