BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 778
          Author:   Allen (D) 
          Amended:  1/4/16  
          Vote:     21  

           SENATE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY COMMITTEE:  4-1, 4/29/15
           AYES:  Hill, Jackson, Leno, Pavley
           NOES:  Gaines
           NO VOTE RECORDED:  Wieckowski, Bates

           SENATE BUS, PROF. & ECON. DEV. COMMITTEE:  5-1, 1/11/16
           AYES:  Hill, Block, Hernandez, Jackson, Wieckowski
           NOES:  Bates
           NO VOTE RECORDED:  Berryhill, Galgiani, Mendoza

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE: Senate Rule 28.8

           SUBJECT:   Automotive repair:  oil changes:  notification to  
                     customers


          SOURCE:    Californians Against Waste


          DIGEST:  This bill requires that, when an automotive repair  
          dealer recommends the date or mileage for the next oil change,  
          the automotive repair dealer follow the oil drain interval  
          specified in the maintenance schedule of the vehicle's owner's  
          manual when making that recommendation to the customer verbally,  
          in the form of a window sticker, through settings in a vehicle's  
          oil sensor, or any other means, as specified.


          ANALYSIS:









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          Existing law:

          1) Establishes the Automotive Repair Act and the Bureau of  
             Automotive Repair (BAR) under the supervision and control of  
             the Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).  
             (Business and Professions Code (BPC)  9880 et seq.)


          2) Regulates the business of automotive repair and makes it  
             unlawful for any person to be an automotive repair dealer  
             unless registered with the BAR. 


          (BPC  9880-9889.68)
          3) Defines the "repair of motor vehicles" to mean all  
             maintenance of, and repairs to, motor vehicles, except the  
             following services:  (BPC  9880.1(e))


             a)   Repairing tires; 


             b)   Changing tires; 


             c)   Lubricating vehicles; 


             d)   Installing light bulbs, batteries, windshield wiper  
               blades, and other minor accessories; 


             e)   Cleaning, adjusting, and replacing spark plugs;


             f)   Replacing fan belts, oil, and air filters; and 


             g)   Other minor services the Director of DCA determines to  
               be customarily performed by a gasoline service station. 









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          1) Defines an "automotive repair dealer" as a person who engages  
             in the business of repairing or diagnosing malfunctions of  
             motor vehicles for compensation. 


          (BPC  9880.1(a))
          2) States that the Director shall not designate a service as  
             minor if the Director of DCA finds that performance of the  
             service requires mechanical expertise, has given rise to a  
             high incidence of fraud or deceptive practices or involves a  
             part of the vehicle essential to its safe operation.  (BPC   
             9880.1(e))


          3) Pursuant to The California Oil Recycling Enhancement Act: 
          (Public Resources Code  48600 et seq.):

             a)   Establishes a program to encourage the recycling of used  
               oil.

             b)   Authorizes the Department of Resources Recycling and  
               Recovery (CalRecycle) to award grants to and work with  
               local governments, non-profit entities, and private  
               companies in order to develop and advance certain  
               developments in lubricating oil, such as oil recycling,  
               collection, research, testing, and re-refining.

             c)   Charges a fee on all oil sold in California to fund  
               local curbside oil pickup programs, local collection  
               facilities, and rebates to oil manufacturers.

             d)   Provides that a person convicted of violating the  
               California Oil Recycling Enhancement Act is guilty of an  
               infraction, which is punishable by a fine of not more than  
               $100/day for each day the violation occurs.

          This bill:

          1) Makes numerous findings and declarations regarding the use of  
             automotive oil in California, the development of oil quality  
             and engine technology, and the goal of reducing the use of  








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             automotive oil in California. 

          2) Requires, prior to performing any work, an automotive repair  
             dealer to notify a customer purchasing an oil change of the  
             recommended oil drain interval, oil grade, and viscosity  
             specified in the maintenance schedule of the vehicle's  
             owner's manual. 

          3) Requires that, if an automotive repair dealer recommends the  
             date or mileage for the next oil change, the automotive  
             repair dealer will follow the oil drain interval specified in  
             the maintenance schedule of the vehicle's owner's manual when  
             making that recommendation to the customer verbally, in the  
             form of a window sticker, through settings in a vehicle's oil  
             sensor, or any other means, as specified.

          4) Authorizes a customer to choose a different drain interval  
             used for purposes of 
          Item #3, above, if a customer purchases oil for the oil change  
             that has a recommended drain interval different from the oil  
             drain interval specified in the maintenance schedule of the  
             vehicle's owner manual.

          Background


          The Californians Against Waste is the Sponsor of the bill.   
          According to the Author, "Oil chemistry and engine technology  
          have evolved over the past 5 decades, with lubricants that can  
          last up to 15,000 miles.  In fact, most cars today call for an  
          oil change at 7,500 or more miles.  However, a 2012 survey by  
          CalRecycle shows that almost 10 million Californians change  
          their motor oil every 3,000 miles or less.  This is partly  
          because of the ingrained myth that all vehicles must have their  
          oil changed every 3000 miles, but it is also because some  
          automotive repair shops still recommend, through window stickers  
          and other means, that drivers have their oil changed every 3,000  
          miles.  Ensuring that auto repair dealers follow the  
          manufacturer's recommendations when listing the date or mileage  
          for the customer's next oil change will reduce the amount of oil  
          waste generated and save consumers dollars."









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          Types of Oil.  Oil comes in a variety of types - conventional  
          motor oil, premium conventional oil, semi-synthetic,  
          full-synthetic, or high-mileage.  

           Conventional oil.  This is the oil used in bulk at dealerships  
            and is the cheapest at auto stores.  It is fossil fuel oil.   
            Conventional oil tends to break down and separate more quickly  
            than synthetic oil [due to heat and elements].  

           Full-synthetic oil.  This oil is made for high-tech engines.   
            If these oils pass stringent special tests, it means they have  
            superior, longer-lasting performance in critical areas, such  
            as viscosity index and protection against engine deposits.   
            They flow better at low temperatures and maintain peak  
            lubrication at high temperatures.  Although it is considered  
            an excellent quality oil, synthetics are about three times as  
            expensive as conventional oil and not always necessary for  
            some engines.  However, some engines call for synthetic only  
            such as Corvette, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

             According to Popular Mechanics, petroleum-type engine oil  
             contains a mixture of several different types of base oil.   
             Oil companies typically pick from a selection of five groups,  
             each of which is produced in a different way and in different  
             viscosities.  The more expensive groups are more highly  
             processed, in some cases with methods that produce a  
             lubricant that can be classified as a synthetic.  The full  
             synthetics contain chemicals that may be derived from  
             petroleum, but are altered so much that they are not  
             considered natural oil anymore.

             In general, synthetic oils have a lower environmental impact,  
             higher vehicle performance, and can extend the time between  
             oil changes.

           Synthetic Blend Oil.  This oil is a mix of synthetic and  
            conventional oils, which is formulated to provide protection  
            for heavier loads and high temperatures.  This generally means  
            they are less volatile and evaporate less, which reduces oil  
            loss.  They are less expensive than full-synthetic oils.

           High-Mileage Oil.  This oil is formulated for vehicles with  








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            higher mileage.  They may have higher viscosities, higher dose  
            of anti-wear additives, and are formulated with seal  
            conditioners that flow into the pores of the seals to restore  
            their shape and increase their flexibility.  High-mileage oils  
            have ingredients to take care of older engines, like  
            conditioners, seal swells, antioxidants, detergents and wear  
            or friction additives.  Typically they use a viscosity  
            modifier that is durable and will not lose viscosity very  
            easily.  These oils need to stay thicker longer to protect  
            engine parts.  

          Extended-Life Oils.  Many oil companies are releasing  
          extended-life oils that are guaranteed for specific mileage  
          listed on the bottle.  For example, Mobil's most advanced fully  
          synthetic product is guaranteed for 15,000 miles.  The company  
          recommends it for vehicles that are beyond their warranty period  
          because many automakers will void the warranty if the owner does  
          not follow the manufacturer's recommended service intervals.

          Automotive Oil Changes.  Changing the oil in a motor vehicle is  
          necessary to protect the engine, keeping vital engine parts well  
          lubricated so that they do not overheat.  An engine cannot  
          function without it and going too long between oil changes can  
          cause permanent damage to an engine over time.

          Depending on the vehicle, the intervals for required oil changes  
          vary.  For example, many newer models require an oil change at  
          least every 5,000 miles; some require every 15,000 miles.

          Oil change information is located in a vehicle owner's manual  
          and many automakers post their manuals online.  Automaker oil  
          change recommendations differ depending on driving conditions as  
          well as car make, model and year.  According to car  
          manufacturers, for driving conditions considered "severe" (e.g.  
          extensive idling or stop and go traffic; extreme weather or  
          humidity; repeated short-distance trips of less than five miles;  
          or towing a trailer or hauling heavy materials), the oil should  
          be changed more frequently or at shorter mileage intervals than  
          for conditions considered normal.

          In addition, some automakers have installed oil life monitors in  
          their vehicles with varying capabilities - the basic versions  








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          are maintenance reminders based on mileage while the more  
          advanced systems take information from various sensors  
          throughout the vehicle and use an algorithm to predict the life  
          of the oil.  These systems are calibrated to work with the  
          factory-recommended oil.  Although these systems take the guess  
          work out of knowing when the next oil service should be, many  
          people have preconceived notions about oil change intervals such  
          as all cars need the oil changed every 3,000 miles.

          Educating the Vehicle Owner.  Oil change information is in the  
          maintenance section of a vehicle owner's manual.  Also, many  
          automakers have put their manuals online.  In addition,  
          CalRecycle has an easily accessible, interactive webpage to see  
          how often one should change the oil for a car based on the make,  
          model, and year of the car.

          Many cars today require a minimum oil change of every 5,000 or  
          7,500 miles.  Ford Motor Company recommends oil changes for many  
          of its new vehicles at 10,000 miles.  Some cars commonly seen on  
          the road require an oil change every 15,000 miles.  

          According to CalRecycle, "[c]hanging motor oil according to the  
          manufacturer specifications would reduce motor-oil demand in  
          California by about 10 million gallons a year."  (Jerry Hirsch,  
          "State hopes to break car owners' habit of changing oil too  
          often," Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2011).  

          Prior to the January 4, 2016 amendments, this bill faced a  
          policy concern in the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality  
          about whether educating the vehicle owner was a more effective  
          way to reduce oil waste.  With the new amendments, the bill  
          addresses the concerns and explicitly requires the automotive  
          repair dealer to notify the customer of the recommended oil  
          change interval listed in the vehicle's owner's manual and  
          change the oil at that interval, unless otherwise specified. 

          Ongoing Litigation.  Currently, the California Attorney General,  
          on behalf of BAR, filed an accusation against numerous Jiffy  
          Lube stations across the state.  The accusation lists various  
          causes for discipline including failure to provide a copy of the  
          signed estimate, departure from trade standards, fraud, false  
          and misleading records, unfair competition, and untrue and  








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          misleading statements.  

          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   Yes


          SUPPORT:   (Verified1/19/16)


          Californians Against Waste (source)
          Biosynthetic Technologies
          California League of Conservation Voters
          California Product Steward Counsel 
          California Public Interest Research Group
          Clean Water Action
          Consumer Federation of California 
          Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety
          Honda
          Natural Resources Defense Counsel
          Wildcoast Costasalvaje
          Sierra Club of California


          OPPOSITION:   (Verified1/19/16)


          New Car Dealers Association

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT: Proponents of this bill assert that "oil  
          technology has changed enormously over the last 30 years making  
          the 3,000-mile 
          oil change unnecessary in nearly all vehicles.  The majority of  
          automakers today call for oil changes at either 7,500 or 10,000  
          miles. And yet, a 2012 survey by CalRecycle indicates that  
          almost 10 million Californians change their motor oil every  
          3,000 miles or less.  If improperly disposed of, used motor oil,  
          which is insoluble and contains heavy metals and toxic  
          chemicals, can enter our oceans and fresh waters via the storm  
          water systems, endangering humans, fish and wildlife. Also, one  
          gallon of used motor oil can foul the taste of 1 million gallons  
          of water. Used oil is considered a hazardous waste, and is often  
          burned as fuel, creating dangerous air pollution."








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          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION:     Opponents of this measure  
          underscore that "while the intention of SB 778 is to protect  
          consumers and the environment from unnecessary and costly oil  
          changes, this measure is premature, unnecessary and will not  
          solve the bill's stated objective?unfortunately SB 778 has  
          several practice problems that will result in regulatory  
          uncertainty and lead to costly litigation."




           Prepared by:Mark Mendoza / B., P. & E.D. / (916) 651-1868
          1/20/16 15:40:06


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