AMSOIL and API Licensing
Why aren’t all AMSOIL motor oils API licensed?
Let us address API licensing in depth, as well as the issue of warranties. Some AMSOIL motor oils are API licensed, some are not. If you feel the need to use an API licensed oil, even after reading this document, then the XL 5W-20 (XLM), 5W-30 (XLF), 10W-30 (XLT) and 10W-40 (XLO) or AMSOIL Synthetic Blend 15W-40 (PCO) API licensed oils should be your choice. If you are looking for an alternative to frequent oil changes or just want the best performing oil for your car, then one of the AMSOIL top tier non-API licensed synthetic oils should be your choice. Read on, and decide for yourself.
What is API licensing for passenger cars?
An API (American Petroleum Institute) license indicates that a specific motor oil formulation has passed the minimum performance standards as defined by a series of laboratory bench, physical, chemical and engine tests. These tests were selected and minimum performance standards were set by the API Lubricants Committee to address specific areas such as engine wear, deposits, fuel economy, emissions, etc. The committee is comprised of representatives from automobile, oil and additive companies. The current specification is SM/GF-4 for gasoline engines and CJ-4 for severe-duty diesel engine service and CF for indirect injected diesel engine service.
What are the costs of API licensing?
The cost for running a test program for a single fuel efficient passenger car motor oil formulation ranges from $230,000 to $350,000, depending on whether the formula passes the tests the first time through. A formula may require multiple test runs or formula modifications to achieve a passing average (testing costs for heavy-duty diesel oils are currently averaging between $750,000 to $1,000,000). Once that testing is complete and the formula has passed all of the minimum requirements, it can be licensed for $1,250 per year for non-members and $1,050 per year for members. There is also a royalty fee per gallon sold for all gallons over one million. The length of time between new specifications is now approximately two to three years, which does not allow a great deal of time to recover testing costs.
Which companies license formulas with the API?
Additive companies develop licensed formulas that they offer to oil companies to re-license. It is inexpensive to re-license one of these formulas, and the majority of oil companies choose to do this to avoid the costs associated with testing their own formulas. This lowers the value of such engine oils because the same chemistry is being sold under many brand names. The lubricant formulas from AMSOIL INC. are unique and proprietary.