Can you even buy a "bad" oil anymore? Even cheap syn is great!

I don't get the rationale of buying SuperTech, when for the same money you can do better, like Mobil 1 better. And Mobil 1 uses higher quality ingredients compared to SuperTech.
Supertech today, on the Walmart website, is about $6 less than the cheapest Mobil 1 5 qt container. I like Mobil 1 fine, but you are asking us to take on faith that it is made with "higher quality ingredients." Is that true? Who knows?
If your goal is to drive a vehicle 150,000 to 250,000 miles and you are willing to change oil on the manufacturer's recommendation, and you are using the oil that is in specification per your owner's manual, then yes, you will get there in the exact same way with Kirkland or HPL, or Quaker State or Amazon basics.

My goal is drive my truck until it stops twitching. The hemi has known lifter/cam issues, there is no way I'm trusting cheap oil in the truck. Something like HPL gives me incredible piece of mind. It has excellent wear protection, excellent cleaning/detergents, and it costs about $30 extra twice a year to run it over the cheap stuff. It's not even a contest IMHO, but I agree that if you're just leasing or moving on after a few years it could be a different story.
I wouldn’t say that with much confidence. I used the triple action ep in my 5.0 and it burned through it pretty good. QS and Valvoline after didn’t burn a drop.
I say that with plenty of confidence. It appears your engine is the oddball. Mobil-1 is #1 selling syn for a reason and that reason is not because it's economically-priced.

I'm not knocking your use of Valvoline and Quaker State. I have no qualms with any name-brand motor oil, when judging them per-se same grade / viscosity. .
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Their oils are better on paper but not in a way the average consumer will ever notice. It’s like using contruction grade trash bags for collecting used tissues (I don’t know why I thought of this analogy). For a track car or something high performance I’d be looking into them for sure, but them being very good doesn’t make others bad
How so? HPL’s bread and butter is getting fleets of vehicles and equipment to massively extend change intervals while maintaining the best protection possible. The result of all their work is passed down to us consumers and we get to reap those same rewards. So at $11.23/quart shipped for HPL i find that to be great value, especially when it can possibly be run out far like Wayne is doing. I know Amsoil SS and redline have similar goals, I am just not privy to any of those companies fleet/industrial work.
After reading many UOAs, watching video tests of, and trying the cheapest of oils you can get now, SuperTech (Walmart), Kirkland (Costco), and Amazon Basics, they all seem to be really great performing synthetics.
Not to be mean, but there’s the root of your issues. Reading UOAs doesn’t actually tell you squat about how the oil performed on wear prevention or anything else. All it tells you is if the oil is still in grade, has TBN reserve, fuel & coolant contamination, and if your oil filter is doing its job. Doesn’t give you any reliable info on how well it’s protecting.

That said, buying an oil from a reputable company that carries a given certification has shown that there is no statistical difference between oils meeting the same certifications. That’s your only saving grace, and by default.
Who made this oil for Thrifty Drugs, don't know if it was good or bad but it worked for me late 60's/70's :D
Supertech is still about $6 a jug cheaper than Mobil 1, so that's not "the same money". And as others have said, for a lot of people who don't drive too hard and have engines that are easy on the oil, Supertech is more than good enough to get them to 300,000 miles or more. Besides, I'd be willing to bet that the Supertech made today is just as good if not better than the Mobil 1 from 4-5 years ago. The quality of the lower cost synthetics is a lot better these days than ever before.
Meh, I’m by no means a fan of M1 as I’ve used it sparingly at best over 3 decades of driving… but even I will concede that XOM makes some darn good oils that are realistically 8-10 years ahead of the commodity blenders. Price certainly isn’t comparable when M1 first offers something compared to when that same tech shows up at Warren, et. al,… but you get the point.

Mobil (to my chagrin) has fairly consistently delivered oil technologies 5-10 years in advance of “average” market availability. In no way do I ever equate ST, Warren, or any other minor on equal terms with the current offering from M1- to me, the data just doesn’t support saying they’re in any ways equal at the same point in history. JM2C.
Maybe if a particular engine has some kind of weakness or design problem, there could be a benefit to a particular oil. Or, perhaps, if someone greatly neglects changing their oil, there is something out that that would survive that neglect better than Kirkland.

Otherwise, an engine that doesn't have known defects and has the oil changed on schedule, I don't think the average person will benefit from using a more expensive oil over say Kirkland synthetic.

Nevertheless, I do kinda like the idea in my head of giving my car the latest tech / formulations. Plus, if something awful came up in my life and the oil stayed in longer than it should, it gives me some peace of mind even if not rooted in science.
While I agree that a generic or house brand API SP synthetic oil offers great value and a much better base level product than you could get compared to years ago. The only question to me is do you trust the company to correctly meet the standards and not rort or cheat the system. This is where I feel more relaxed with name brands, especially when advising friends.

A lot has improved over the years, not just base level oils. Metallurgy has improved in some high wear applications, and the quality of fuel I buy now has significantly improved. For me, the old leaded fuel contained 800 ppm sulphur, which significantly increased acid in the oil. Now days my fuel has about one hundredth that level of sulphur leading to a lot less acid build up in the oil.
I know I can’t distinguish a difference between any majority group 3 synthetic oils with the same approvals. Splitting hairs really.
*Of the name brands like Castrol , Mobil , Pennzoil , Pennzoil and Valvoline . Next are your 2nd tier oils from Supertech , Kirkland Amazon , etc. with 3rd tier brands being your truck stop and dollor store oils with odd names .
Come to a 3rd world South East Asian country bro.

Infrared Oil, as we asians love to say ..Dont play play...
Made in the USA? Right.....

So, on the original topic, what's a bad oil anyone would actually avoid? Where can you buy it?
Sadly our convenience stores stock Golden State and some other Star-Junk motor oils … sometimes sitting next to Chevron for pennies less …

I just use Dex 1.3 as my minimum - even in my 2 non GM’s …