by Robert Sanborn on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, who was a member of the STLE Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers for 15 years.
Many of you probably do not remember when Castrol went against the all-powerful U.S. oil cartel made up of the major oil companies. The oil companies are competitors and thus are at odds some of the time. Thus, they use the API or American Petroleum Institute as their spokesman and watch-dog for regulating and keeping peace in the industry.
Castrol several years ago went against the API, stating that the Buick single cylinder mileage test that still used leaded fuel,** even ten years after it had been phased out, was no longer valid**. The API sued Castrol, as representative of the cartel, and won a judgment. To fight Castrol all of the oil companies through in royalties off of their motor oil sales.
Not only did the API win, they amassed a war chest of some $240 million dollars. This was the coming out of the API and they bought a building close to the white house in Washington D.C. to monitor and lobby anything that might hurt the large cartel.
Castrol has More than Enough Information to Justify Advertising Claims
Now Castrol, in an effort to differentiate their brand, advertised nationally that they had superior sludge protection over other motor oils. Their ads boasted it was 57 percent better than other products and that it passed the industry’s toughest sludge standard.
Since the API sets the standard specifications for motor oil, at least they certify all motor oils for commercial sale, this didn’t look good to the rest of the U.S. oil cartel. Pennzoil/Quaker State the leading seller of motor oils in the United States filed a complaint with the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. This was even though Castrol had performed the Mercedes-Benz M111 sludge test known in the industry as the toughest test available. The NAD found there wasn’t enough support for the claim so Castrol voluntarily pulled the entire national ad campaign.
The public doesn’t realize this is another attempt by the cartel to control the industry. If this was an additive company the FTC would be filing an order against Castrol/BP Lubricants and there would be a class action civil suit. But no, not in this case, the big boys settled their differences and everybody is happy.
Oil Companies Snuff out Competition just as they did with Oil Additives in the 90s
I believe this is not another case of false advertising but the oil cartel stepping on Castrol in a behind the scenes regulation. When buying a major oil companies motor oil product do not expect to be able to buy a competitive best product, as the cartel makes sure everyone’s product is close to the same!
The oil cartel doesn’t need big brother and the government regulating them as they already regulate themselves. The industry creates the tests and all of the interests and their lobbies are involved, then when someone wants to use such tests to make claims, the oil companies say no don’t do that! What a shame free enterprise is controlled in this manner by the U.S. oil cartel and holds down companies not to innovate and improve on their products. Oh well, politics as usual with the oil companies.