Mobil 1 5W-30 meets the standards for ILSAC GF-4 (API Certified -
Starburst). I suspect that no change in the formula was necessary to meet
the new standard (but don't know for sure).
Mobil Clean 7500 (synthetic blend) and Mobil Clean 5000 (conventional oil)
also meet the new standard.
For some reason, Mobil 1 Extended Performance oil does not meet all of the
ILSAC GF-4 standards. Could be that it does not meet the stricter fuel
economy tests, or has too much phosphorus which can shorten the life of
catalytic converters. It does meet the engine wear tests.
Basically all one needs for the current starburst standard (now GF-4)
is to meet the current API standard along with its corresponding
"Energy Conserving" standard.
I think you'll find as oils are relabelled for API SM, they'll nearly
all meet the EC standard and thus GF-4. There might be a few
exceptions, including some "European Formula" 0W-30 or 5W-30 oils
that are designed to be on the heavy side of 30 weight, and won't
meet the energy conserving standard. Pennzoil actually markets
two different 5W-30 oils in their "Pennzoil Platinum" series.
You've got that one. They have extra "SuperSyn" which is what Mobil
calls a "high viscosity index polyalphaolefin". Basically what it
does is serve as a base oil that also increases the viscosity
index. I've heard using it also eliminates the need for other
VI improvers in weights that previously needed it (or they now need
less VI improver). So what you end up with is a slightly thicker oil
(closer to the max for the viscosity range) at operating temps, which
reduces fuel economy.
ILSAC GF4 is only met by API latest standard energy conserving grades. There
is a misapprehension that some European specification oils that meet higher
performance standards will somehow meet and [easily exceed] the API standard
but somehow fail the 'energy conserving' starburst. In fact it is probable
that the only reason that the starburst is not awarded is that the sales
volume of these oils would not warrant the accreditation and licensing fees
levied. In Europe where these oils are commonplace the starburst and ILSAC
standard is not used. Instead the owner is trusted to use appropriate
quality and viscosity for his application and to be intelligent enough to
know that a thin oil will be more fuel efficient.
Effectively any oil with the required API rating and a 'w' rating of 5 or
lower and a hot viscosity of 30 or lower would qualify for the starburst if
a wad of money changed hands.
I don't know about the "wad of money" part. According to
fees are as follows:
"6. Licensee agrees to pay to API an annual minimum royalty
fee [eight hundred fifty dollars ($850) for API members; one
thousand fifty dollars ($1,050) for non-members] plus
$0.0015 per gallon of licensed motor oil after the first
million gallons of production. This minimum royalty may be
revised annually if deemed necessary by API to cover the
costs of administration and enforcement of the program.
Licensee agrees to submit the necessary annual volume of
sales data and the minimum royalty fee to API within the
time frame specified by API. All fees are payable in U.S.
Seem pretty low to me.
I think you are wrong about the "a 'w' rating of 5 or lower
and a hot viscosity of 30 or lower would qualify for the
starburst" part. To get the starburst symbol the oil has to
show an increase in fuel economy compard to a 5W-30
synthetic reference oil. From
"Oils tested are now compared to an SAE 5W-30 synthetic
reference oil instead of the SAE 20W-30 mineral reference
oil used under the old program. Engine oils must achieve
1.1% better fuel economy for SAE 5W-30 motor oils and 0.5%
better fuel economy for SAE 10W-30 and SAE 10W-40 motor
There is some confusion here because neither 10w/30 nor 10w/40 would qualify
as 'energy conserving' and the 10w/40 would most certainly not achieve
better fuel efficiency than the reference 5w/30 in any conditions.
Valvoline claims their 10W-30 Synthetic Blend meets the
Energy Conserving requirements
"SAE 10w30: Is the leading consumer grade. Exceeds all car,
light truck, van or sport utility manufacturer's warranty
requirements for the protection of gasoline, and
turbocharged engines where an API SL, SJ, or CF oil is
recommended. Exceeds European ACEA A1 and all requirements
of ILSAC GF-3 for API Gasoline Engine Oils and meets Energy
Mobil also claims their drive clean 10W-30 meets the Energy
I am sure there are many other 10W-30 oils that meet this
standard. It seems obvious to me it should not be a problem,
this fuel efficiency is measured once the oil is at
operating temperature, and at this point, 10W-30 and 5W-30
aren't much different. I looked at the API license list, and
most 10W-30 oils are "energy conserving (see
the ones with the * can be labeled "energy conserving"). You
are right about the 10W-40. I couldn't find anyone
advertising an "energy conserving" 10W-40 motor oil and not
one in the API list was eligible for the "energy conserving"
I did notice one interesting item in looking throught the
lists - Ford of the US sells only API "SL" 5W20 Motor Oil.
Ford of Canada sells both API "SM" and "SL" motor oil. What
gives? Both are claimed to be ILSAC GF-4.
Mobil specifically states that their new Mobil 1 Extended Life oils
(including 5W-30) do not meet the new GF-4 rating, probably because of the
fuel-mileage (they specifically say it does meet the engine wear standards).
The regular Mobil 1 full synthetics, synthetic blends, and conventional oils
do meet the new standards.
So it would not surprising that some of the high performance oils, such as
required in Mercedes vehicles, may not meet GF-4 rating.
Obviously, this has nothing to do with whether the tests were performed or
money changing hands.
GF-4 also has upper limit caps on the phosphorus content as the
automakers believe that phosphorus contamination from burning motor oil
leads to catalytic convertor failures, and the EPA has recently
increased the required emissions systems warranty period to over 100,000
Phosphorus is part of the common anti-wear additive ZDDP and I suspect
that Mobil felt they could not put sufficient ZDDP into their Extended
Life Oils for the long drain intervals and also stay under the maximum
limits of GF-4.
In my reading, I've heard that the "reference oil" used is a
PAO-only base oil. My guess is that it probably doesn't
contain much (if any) friction modifiers. I doubt the API
sets the requirements such that they can't be met.
It would make sense that the API would change to a synthetic
"reference oil" because it would reduce variability compared
to the previous mineral reference oils.
Of course he is wrong on that particular point. I didn't say he is wrong
about everything. But he is wrong about the "labeled" viscosity being the
only determination of an energy-saving formula. The proof is in the testing
and not the labeling.
There are official tests but oil blenders self certify and approve their
oils while remitting a license fee. The reference oil is just to pull the
wool over your eyes because I do not know of any oil that meets appropriate
current API rating combined with the appropriate viscosity rating that would
not automatically qualify. The combined SAE and API ratings are the key
because the latest API standards force the use of better base oils.
Not sure I understand all of that, but the 5W-30 Mobil 1 Extended Life oil
does not meet the GF-4 rating, in part (or maybe in whole) because it is not
an energy conserving formula. All other Mobil oils (synthetic, synthetic
blend, and conventional) do meet the energy conserving standards in the
5W-30 (and certain other) viscosity.
You are wrong. According to the Encarta North American dictionary, wrong has
the following meanings, in order (without explanations):
3. not meant.
4. not in normal state
5. not conforming to
7. not working
8. reversed or inverted
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.