API vs. ACEA specifications

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I've been a fan of European oils mainly for their extended drain capabilities, and have been given quite a number of opinions when contrasting API standards to that of the ACEA. I'm mainly interested in gasoline/petrol standards. The oil I'm using (Morris Multilife 10W-50) meets ACEA A3/B3 specifications, alongside API SL/SJ/CF and MB Sheet 229.1/229.3. Some people have told me European oils are required to meet higher standards, because they are used in higher-revving engines for longer periods of time. Others have told me the API has stricter standards because of emissions. Some went as far as saying they are simply the same. The only difference I've managed to dig out is a Group III oil does not pass as "synthetic" by European standards. But nothing as far as specs go. Doing a bit of searching, I've come across a PDF document which outlines ACEA standards as follows:
 Quote:
A/B: gasoline and diesel engine oils A1/B1: Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use at extended drain intervals in gasoline engines and car & light van diesel engines specifically designed to be capable of using low friction low viscosity oils with a high temperature / high shear rate viscosity of 2.6 mPa*s for xW/20 and 2.9 to 3.5 mPa.s for all other viscosity grades. These oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt. A3/B3: Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use in high performance gasoline engines and car & light van diesel engines and/or for extended drain intervals where specified by the engine manufacturer, and/or for year-round use of low viscosity oils, and/or for severe operating conditions as defined by the engine manufacturer. A3/B4: Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use in high performance gasoline and direct-injection diesel engines, but also suitable for applications described under A3/B3. A5/B5 Stable, stay-in-grade oil intended for use at extended drain intervals in high performance gasoline engines and car & light van diesel engines designed to be capable of using low friction low viscosity oils with a High temperature / High shear rate (HTHS) viscosity of 2.9 to 3.5 mPa.s. These oils are unsuitable for use in some engines. Consult owner manual or handbook if in doubt.
The only information I was able to find on API specifications was a list and the dates of the different specifications. So is trying to compare the two like apples and oranges? What are the similarities between specifications (if any)? Thanks.
 
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There are good API-rated synthetics and good ACEA-rated synthetics. Some of us VW TDI owners prefer the API-rated HD engine oils, others swear by those that carry a VAG approval. I can't say much about MB or BMW or other Euro brands... I would guess that owners should use oils meeting their requirements until they find something better.
 
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