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In North America, the uptake of the new standards (FA-4) has been slow but steady, with maintenance managers making the switch as they upgrade to newer vehicles and equipment with newer engines. But API standards are widely used outside North America, in markets such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, India and (for the moment) China.

In these markets, adoption has been slower. In many countries, Euro IV equivalent is not widely available. Often, this is simply because local refineries are not yet capable to produce the required fuel qualities. Most trucks and other vehicles also use older, pre-2016 engines.

In India, for instance, lubricants based on the new API standards will only start becoming widely available from next year onwards, as India moves to its BS6 standard fuel (the Indian equivalent of Euro VI). For now, India and other similar markets continue to mainly use oils that conform to the older API CI standards.

Markets such as India and China are modernising rapidly. In the past, engine and fuel standards were up to a decade behind Western markets. Now India and China are catching up and switching to the new API standards or their equivalents, in just three or four years. Further convergence is expected to continue.

Europe upgrades to the new ACEA E8 and E11 oils

Rather than the API standards, Europe uses specifications set by the Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles (ACEA). Currently, ACEA is developing new specifications, similar to the API standards, designed specifically for use with modern engines, to help improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.

As with the API standards, these new specifications stipulate stringent oxidation, high-temperature and shear tests. The new E8 specification replaces the 2012 E6 category while E9 will become E11. Both new ACEA E8/E11 categories will continue to specify engine oils with High Temperature High Shear (HTHS) viscosities of min. 3.5 centiPoise. In parallel ACEA plan to introduce new Fuel Economy F8/F11 categories with similar performance requirements to the E8/E11 categories but lower HTHS viscosities of 2.9 to 3.2 centiPoise.


As part of the new F8/F11 specifications, ACEA is working with vehicle OEMs and lubricant manufacturers to design new engine tests, specifically journal bearing-and piston-ring/liner-wear tests under low soot conditions.

Oils which meet the new specifications will combine lower viscosity – and consequently lower friction and greater fuel efficiency – with the same standard of wear protection offered by current-generation lubricants. This is good for the bottom line but also for the environment: greater fuel efficiency means lower costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Using the new ACEA F8/F11-type oils in modern engines will give around 0.5% fuel efficiency increase, compared to using the best available legacy oil in the same engine, If you are running a large vehicle or equipment pool that can very quickly sum up to significant savings. Shell has worked as an integral part of the extended ACEA HD working group developing the new specifications.

China’s new GB 1122-DI oil standards As in Europe, China’s new oil standards are being developed in cooperation with leading Chinese engine manufacturers to meet the specific needs of the Chinese market.

The working group is developing new engine test procedures. The new oil specifications are expected to be available at some point within the next three years and will make a significant contribution to China’s efforts to cut emissions and improve the efficiency of China’s vehicle fleet.

New standards for a changing world The new standards in Europe, North America and China may differ in the details, but essentially they all have the same goal: to provide high-performing, low-viscosity lubricants that help increase engine performance, cut emissions and reduce costs.


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