by Robert Sanborn on Fri, Jun 19, 2009, who was a member of the STLE Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers for 15 years.
In the past tests for North American engine oils took years of technical work to get approved. Such tests make up the motor oil warranty sequence that everyone has to pass to get their motor oil warranty certified.
The new test is muddled with politics as the format changed to pay-to-play. In other words if you dished out $300,000 each you could set the standard for the new test. Ten companies, almost all representing major oil companies took part. They include Chevron, Exxon/Mobil, Shell, Afton Chemical the old Ethyl Corp., Infineum, who is Exxon/Mobils additive division, Chevron Oronite, who is obviously Chevron’s additive division, Lubrizol a well known additive company and R.T. Vanderbilt a supplier of friction modifiers. Sounds like a loaded deck, and gives these companies that joined the effort for a new VID test certainly a head start to market their products, when the next engine oil category and 2011 model year cars are introduced.
The committee voiced concern with accepting the Sequence VID as “fit for purpose” at this time. In the test’s current state, said Tom Olszewski technical advisor at Exxon /Mobil, “from analysis of the data to date, fuel economy improvement of the aged test oil is primarily a function of engine age and only weakly responds to viscosity or formulation efforts. “In addition, an engine-age correction factor is new territory for a fuel economy test, and we’re concerned that the data generated thus far does not fully ensure that this method of adjusting results is appropriate.
So ten companies paid over $3,000,000 dollars to participate in the fuel economy test as pressures on engine oils to contribute to fuel economy are not new, but they’ve never been more intense. The major oil companies are pushing out the independent producers as smaller companies like Amsoil, Royal Purple, Red Line etc. could never sell enough oil fast enough to get their money back so they will have to buy the additive packages from the oil companies. The oil companies have created their own cartel that resembles the middle-east oil barons.