All about oil

European oils: Better or just different?

For years, American consumers have had the sneaking suspicion that European motor oils are better than those sold in America. It makes sense, in a way; there are lots of expensive high-performance cars made in Europe, and most of them have come with a recommendation to use oil that is not even available here in the States. There has to be something special in the oil that you put in cars that run on the autobahn all day long.

Talking with American oil engineers, however, you get another story. With a pride that transcends mere nationalism, oil engineers on this side of the Atlantic point to the successes they have had blending oils that work well in a wide range of cars, in a wide range of climates, across wide ranges of geography.

If you had to reduce all the differences between American oils and European oils down to one word, that word would be compromise. No matter what country you come from, you still have the same raw materials to work with. And before you can put in some more of secret ingredient A, you have to take out some of secret ingredient B. Or maybe some of B and some of C. Or maybe some of the base stock. There is no such thing as taking the perfect oil and making it better with the simple addition of one more additive.

So the answer to the question is that although European oils are different, they are not necessarily better. American oils have demonstrated time and again the quality of their breeding, and they are a lot easier to buy.