AMSOIL Changes XL-7500 Formula To Enhance Oils, Stay Competitive

AMSOIL Vice President of Manufacturing Alan Amatuzio discusses changes in the AMSOIL XL-7500 Series Motor Oils.

  Action News: AMSOIL will be using a different formula for its XL-7500 Motor Oils. Why did AMSOIL change the formula?

 Amatuzio: Our XL-7500 oils are the oils of choice in the retail oil change market, and primarily because of warranty concerns the customers in this market require API-certified oils. In order to obtain API SL/ILSAC GF-3 certification and still remain cost-competitive with the other oils sold at retail oil change outlets, we had to change to Group III basestocks. To obtain API certification with our top tier basestocks would have priced our Dealers out of the market.

 Action News: Are Group III basestocks synthetic?

  Amatuzio: Yes, they are synthetic. Group III base oils are highly processed oils and were classified as synthetic in 1999. That year, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus ruled in a complaint by Mobil Oil Corp. against Castrol North America Inc. Castrol claimed its product, Syntec, was a synthetic oil even though it had used Group III base oils since 1997. The ruling by NAD said Castrol presented evidence that constitutes a reasonable basis for the claim that Syntec, a Group III based formulation, is synthetic motor oil.

 Action News: How did that change impact the lubricant industry?

  Amatuzio: Initially, the decision by NAD shocked the lubricant industry. However, many studies show that Synthetic Group III base oils have been completely changed and converted and are significantly different from traditional Group I mineral oils. They have come to be recognized in the industry and by consumers as synthetic.

  Action News: Are all Group III oils equal?

  Amatuzio: No, as a matter of fact, they are not. One of the big problems with Group III base oils is the lack of consistency from one manufacturer to another. While the physical properties may meet performance parameters, the performance characteristics can vary widely. Thatís because of differences in the crude oil and the different processes used to refine the crude into Group III basestocks. Itís quite different from PAO production where the properties and performance are fairly consistent between manufacturers. (See Table 1.)

  Action News: How did AMSOIL resolve these differences in performance characteristics in the Group III basestocks?

  Amatuzio: AMSOIL has selected the best quality Group III base oils and spiked them with oxidation inhibitors and TBN. They have more gusto than other Group III oils and are fully formulated for 7,500-mile drain intervals. (See Chart 1.)

  Action News: What prompted the new GF-3 designation?

  Amatuzio: The new designation was driven by three key performance requirements: improved fuel economy, improved protection of emissions control systems and the need for more robust engine oils that offer extended drain intervals. These GF-3 oils are greatly improved in terms of oxidation stability, high temperature deposit control, fuel economy improvement and retention of fuel economy benefits, and lower oil volatility and oil consumption.

  Action News: What does the new formulation mean for AMSOIL Dealers?

  Amatuzio: The new formulation allows Dealers and customers to save money. Effective July 1, the XL-7500 5W-20, 5W-30 and 10W-30 motor oils cost 20 cents per quart less for all programs.

  Action News: Are the other AMSOIL motor oils impacted in any way?

  Amatuzio: Our other motor oils remain unchanged. They are the very best quality synthetic motor oils, formulated for 25,000-mile, or one-year, drain intervals. Our main line motor oils are the premier, top quality oils on the market and that is where they will stay. Unlike the competition that considers Synthetic Group III a major step up in performance, our PAO-based motor oils are still the best.

  Action News: How are basestocks defined and classified?

  Amatuzio: The American Petroleum Institute classes basestocks in five Groups, defined by sulfur content, saturates and viscosity index. Groups I and II are petroleum-based oils. Group III, as mentioned before, have been most recently designated synthetic. Group IV synthetic basestocks are PAO chemistry. Group V represents all stocks not included in Groups I-IV, such as esters, silicones and polyglycols.

  Action News: Why did AMSOIL choose to use Group III basestocks in these particular oils?

  Amatuzio: The AMSOIL XL-7500 oils are particularly appropriate for Group III basestocks because they are stable and resist oxidation and volatility. They are recommended for only 7,500-mile, or six-month, drain intervals. Primarily sold to the installed retail market, they give the retailer and customers what they want and need for their vehicles.