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AOCA Spotlight: Joanna Johnson

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Joanna and the Automotive Oil Change Association's Government Affairs Committee work on your behalf to protect the industry from harmful legislation and regulation. AOCA members receive monthly government affairs updates highlighting the efforts of Joanna and the committee.

These efforts would not be possible without support in the form of AOCA membership. Ensure you are a member of AOCA today so we can continue these crucial efforts for years to come. Contact AOCA at (800) 230-0702 or info@aoca.org to inquire about membership.

 

How did you get involved with government affairs and with AOCA?

The Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) in Washington, D.C., hired me right out of law school. Among my first assignments was Joanna Johnsonhandling government affairs issues for their associate member called the National Association of Independent Lubes, which later became AOCA. They were my favorite part of working there.

Several years later, AOCA outgrew PMAA and wanted their own representation. By then I had taken a partnership in the law firm, Harris & Johnson. It was perfect timing for everyone. Twenty-five years later, we’re still a team. Oh my gosh, it’s our silver business anniversary!

 

How has the oil change industry changed over the years from your perspective?

Some have added minor repairs but the core factors haven’t changed a bit, which is why consumers prefer professional fast lubes for preventative maintenance. Friendly, convenient, honest, expert service—you can’t beat it. You can cheat it, however, by lying and tying; i.e., when automakers and dealers use their giant platforms to slander aftermarket competition and unlawfully tie warranty coverage to branded products and services. That’s why AOCA invests so much in Magnuson Moss Warranty Act enforcement.

You might think that task would be easier due to the biggest change in the industry (consolidation) but that hasn’t proven true. Some of the now-largest players don’t fully participate in the association the way Jiffy Lube and Valvoline do. I’m hoping that disconnect will turn around this year. One thing you can say for automobile dealers: they all participate in their trade association and it shows. And they aren’t even facing the need to navigate ever-expanding fluid and filter requirements for all makes and models—another significant change affecting the fast lube industry.

 

What are some issues AOCA is following? What issues do you think will be significant for the industry in the future?

The hottest issues right now are fair competition (Magnuson Moss Warranty Act and engine defect cover-ups), consumer protection packaging, labeling and receipt requirements (NIST Handbook 130 Weights & Measures regulation), telematics and ADAS impact on ability to provide core services, obtaining more liability protection for fast lubes that collect DIYer used oil from the public and mandatory state vehicle safety inspection programs. 

Those are also long-term issues and some of them will intersect more going forward—like Magnuson Moss and telematics—but the influx of electric vehicles may have the most significant impact on day-to-day operations depending on the level of state and federal involvement over the next ten years. If they pull an “Eisenhower Expressway” (see Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956), AOCA will be right there to make sure there’s a healthy role for fast lube operators no matter what powers the national fleet.

The focus on protecting water resources will certainly increase by state regulation if not federal. Not “luckily” but, rather, intentionally, modern fast lube facilities provide excellent protection in that regard, so no major upheavals are anticipated there.

 

What do you do for fun in your spare time?

I write fiction, climb sand dunes, and work with lions, tigers, and…nope, not bears, not yet.

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