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Jobbers World News
Janaury 19, 2009

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  • WAL-MART SETTLES CONSUMER PROTECTION CASE FOR $357,800.00
  • Shell Offers Revitalized Hydraulic Fluid
  • ExxonMobil's Lubrication Expert Receives NLGI's Highest Honor
  • North American Lubricants Steps Out with Another Price Decrease
  • API's Response to Valvoline's Claim Regarding Mobil 1
  • Contact Us With Your News

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    WAL-MART SETTLES CONSUMER PROTECTION CASE FOR $357,800.00

    Shasta County District Attorney Jerry Benito announced that his office joined with the District Attorneys of Monterey, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties to settle a consumer protection case filed against Wal-Mart, the makers of "Wal-Mart SuperTech Gear Oil", and their manufacturer, Warren Distribution (an Independent Lubricant Manufacturer) . The initial investigation arose out of inspections of Wal-Mart SuperTech Gear Oil by Shasta County Weights and Measures, Petroleum Division officials. Investigators found that the gear oil did not meet the advertised viscosity levels, in violation of California law. The investigation broadened, and the prosecutors joined forces to undertake statewide legal action to eradicate the problem. Wal-Mart's SuperTech gear oil is made by Warren Distribution, a Nebraska corporation.

    Wal-Mart and Warren cooperated with prosecutors during the investigation and agreed to undertake additional testing procedures in order to comply with the law. Under the terms of the settlement, without admitting any wrongdoing, Wal-Mart, Inc., agreed to pay $257,800.00 in civil penalties, $75,000.00 to reimburse the costs of the investigation and prosecution, and $25,000.00 in restitution for a total settlement of $357,800.00.

    Approximately 5000 bottles of the non-compliant oil was sold in California. Gear oil is primarily used in heavy machinery and large trucks. It is unknown if any engines were damaged by the bad oil, but it is likely that, given California's overall mild climate compared with the rest of the United States, no actual damage was done to any Californian's machinery, as any damage would likely occur only in extreme hot or cold temperatures.

    The Shasta County Department of Weights and Measures routinely monitors local businesses and investigates products to ensure compliance with state law. The District Attorney's Office brings actions such as this to ensure that local and national businesses comply with their responsibilities under the law.

    The counties and cities involved will equally split the civil penalties paid by Wal-Mart and Warren. This means that Shasta County will receive approximately $65,514.00. The Department of Weights and Measures will be reimbursed for all of the costs of their investigation.

    In Shasta County, the case was investigated by Shasta County Department of Weights and Measures and prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Erin M. Dervin of the Consumer Protection Unit of the District Attorney's Office. The Consumer Protection Unit exists to help consumers with problems they may have with services provided by local businesses or individuals.

    For more information about the prosecution, contact District Attorney Jerry Benito or Deputy District Attorney Erin M. Dervin at 245-6310 and for information about the investigation contact Shasta County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights & Measures Mary Pfeiffer at 224-4949.


    Shell Offers Revitalized Hydraulic Fluid

    Shell Tellus Oil STX Helps to Maximize Performance in Mobile and Stationary Hydraulic Applications

    Shell Lubricants has launched a multigrade hydraulic fluid designed for operators demanding a lubricant free of heavy metals that will perform in extreme conditions: Shell Tellus Oil STX.

    Shell Tellus Oil STX is a zinc-free, ashless hydraulic fluid with high shear stability, formulated with Group II base oils with additive technology. The fluid's wide temperature range and 160 viscosity index allows operators to reduce the number of hydraulic grades, with one oil being able to operate in a wide range of environments. Fast start-up can also be achieved through the fluid's excellent low temperature performance, while improved equipment protection and retention of fluid viscosity properties during operation can also be expected.

    "A truly great hydraulic fluid is one that offers a wide temperature range as well as other key performance features, such as high shear stability and versatility," said Dennis Woodley, Shell Hydraulics Product Application Specialist. "Only by choosing a product that performs well in even the most extreme conditions will you be able to help reduce downtime and maximize productivity."

    Shell Tellus Oil STX fluid can be used for a wide range of applications for mining, farming, construction or marine industries. The product joins the Shell Tellus range of hydraulic oils, which have been designed to provide long fluid life and low temperature fluidity.


    ExxonMobil's Lubrication Expert Receives NLGI's Highest Honor

    John P. Doner, a 30-year company employee of ExxonMobil, recently earned the National Lubricating Grease Institute's (NLGI) prestigious 'Award for Achievement'.

    Recognized as the NLGI's highest honour, the 'Award for Achievement' is reserved for individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the long-term growth and development of the institute and the field of lubricating grease technology.

    As an Advanced Research Associate with ExxonMobil Research & Engineering in Paulsboro, NJ, Doner holds nearly 20 patents related to grease manufacturing and composition.

    Throughout his career he has both participated in and overseen the development and formulation of many high-performance, Mobil-branded greases that are today used in nearly every type of commercial and industrial business, including aerospace, aviation, automotive, commercial vehicle, industrial, marine, mining and motorsports.

    "Through our extensive commitment to research and development, ExxonMobil has always been at the forefront of lubricant and grease technology, delivering products that help our customers across a wide range of industries meet their most demanding challenges and maximize their productivity," said, Hugh Helferty, products research and technology manager, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering. "Throughout his career, John Doner has played an integral role in expanding ExxonMobil's leadership in the field of grease lubrication. We are proud to celebrate his well-deserved distinction of earning the NLGI's 'Award for Achievement'."

    A prolific technical writer and longtime NLGI Fellow, Doner has authored and presented numerous grease technical papers to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and Society Of Tribologists and Lubricating Engineers (STLE).

    A past recipient of numerous NLGI awards for technical literature and education contributions, Doner's achievements include co-authoring the NLGI test for "Certified Lubricating Grease Specialist," serving as past chairperson of the NLGI Technical Committees, and writing the "Ask the Expert" section of the monthly journal "NLGI Spokesman" which is distributed to more than 2,500 NLGI members.

    Doner, who first gained experience working with lubricating greases as a U.S. Army civilian employee prior to joining ExxonMobil, said, "As a longtime NLGI member, it is a great honour and privilege to receive the organization's 'Award for Achievement'."

    "And, while I never reached my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut," Doner said, "I am proud to say that the high-performance Mobil-branded synthetic greases I have helped to develop are today used in a wide range of applications, including airplanes and vehicles used for space exploration."

    "So, in that small way, I guess I've had a chance to make my impact in the sky."


    North American Lubricants Steps Out with Another Price Decrease

    North American Lubricants, Co. (NAL) became the first national lubricant brand to announce a second round of price decreases since lubricant prices peaked last November. Due to the continued decline in raw material costs, NAL announced a price reduction on all orders placed on or after January 12, 2009. Specific details of the decrease were communicated to its branded lubricant distributors and national accounts, but was said to include an additional roll-back of prices up to 8%.

    "Kick-starting the New Year with a fresh decrease will accelerate the tremendous growth our corporation was fortunate enough to enjoy in 2008," NAL President Shane Terry says "Our latest price move further demonstrates our commitment to give our branded distributors and national accounts a competitive edge, while maintaining the utmost dedication to premium product quality and customer support." Terry continues, "By stepping out with a new national decrease, we expect other national brands to follow our lead and pass on much needed economic relief to the market."

    2009 promises to be full of innovative developments for the NAL brand. Terry concludes, "This is the first of many exciting moves our company will make this year. We plan on setting a new industry standard for proactive marketing strategies, designed to enhance the economic performance of our important customers throughout the nation. Stay tuned for additional announcements in the months to come."

    Through their 44 state distribution network, NAL offers Puratech Supreme Motor Oil, Puratech Syn-Blend Motor Oil, Puratech Hi-Mile Motor Oil, Puratech PureSYN Motor Oil (now available in quarts), Puratech Multi-Vehicle ATF and PureGreen Lubricants (an earth-friendly product line) in their profit boosting line-up.


    API's Response to Valvoline's Claim Regarding Mobil 1

    A significant number of readers contacted JobbersWorld with regards to several stories we ran starting on December 11, 2008 about Valvoline's claim that "Mobil 1 5W-30 does not meet minimum API SM or ILSAC GF-4 specification because of its inferior performance in the Sequence IVA wear test." See Link below

    Most who contacted JobbersWorld were in disbelief (and questioned) that it could be true. They said Valvoline was simply trying to gain attention and some marketing mileage by taking on a Giant. Others said, there is no way Valvoline would be "crazy enough" to take on a Giant if they didn't have all their "t's" crossed and "i's" dotted with test data. And then there were those who asked. "what does the American Petroleum Institutute (API) have to say about it since Valvoline's claim specifically points to Mobil 1 not meeting API specifications?"

    In an effort to address this issue, JobbersWorld contacted API. We asked them three questions. First, is the API aware of Valvoline's claim that Mobil 1 does not meet API SM specification? Second, does the API have any date to support Valvoline's claim, or ExxonMobil's position that Mobil 1 5W-30 meets API SM GF-4? And finally, what is the API's position regarding its testing protocol to assure that Mobil 1, or any other lubricant for that matter, meets API performance specifications?

    What follows is API's response:

    1. Yes, API is aware of Valvoline's claim.

    2. API would not compare one licensed brand against another. However, ExxonMobil has certified to API that its 5W-30 Mobil 1 product meets ILSAC GF-4 and API SM requirements.

    3. API has been testing off-the-shelf engine oils carrying the API Starburst and Donut under its Aftermarket Audit Program (AMAP) since 1994 and in 1999 began testing API-licensed product dispensed from tanks and drums at quick-lube facilities, service stations, auto dealerships, and truck maintenance facilities. Since 1994, API has tested approximately 7,000 API-licensed oils from around the world.

    API went on to say, "Under AMAP, API-licensed engine oils are purchased in the marketplace and bench-tested to determine their physical and chemical properties. The results are compared to licensee formulations on file at API. Conforming oils show bench-test results that are consistent with the formulations and meet program requirements. All samples undergo elemental analysis, viscosity at 100C, and high-temperature/high-shear testing. They may also be tested for cold cranking, pumpability, volatility, foaming, filterability, rust and corrosion inhibition, and shear stability. Product packages are checked to make sure they correctly display the API Marks and carry product trace codes. A number of bench-tested oils undergo actual industry sequence engine testing for oxidation, deposits, sludge, varnish, and wear."

    JobbersWorld would like to thank the API for its response and point out that the API has a solid reputation as the the leading association assuring the quality of motor oils in the marketplace. At the same time, the API's response still leaves the industry with one big question, that being... is Valvoline's claim that "Mobil 1 5W-30 does not meet minimum API SM or ILSAC GF-4 specification because of its inferior performance in the Sequence IVA wear test" true? In addition, what actions (if any) is the API taking in to response to Valvoline's accusation?


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