Motor Oil Prices Jump in Russia

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Motor Oil Prices Jump in Russia
A retail display for motor oil at an automotive parts store in Moscow. © Andrei Kobylko

Retail motor oil prices in Russia increased about 40% due to short base oil supplies and steep run-ups in operational costs, according to Autodoc.ru, a leading Russian online seller of car parts and finished lubricants.

At the end of July, the average retail price for motor oil in the country was about 500 rubles (U.S. $7), up from 300 rubles at the beginning of the year, the company found.

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“Such a steep increase of motor oil prices is due to the short supply of base oils used by all lubricant producers,” Vladislav Soloviev, head of Autodoc.ru, said in a recent news release.

Lockdowns caused by the pandemic and failures in the logistics and production chains around the globe are additional reasons why supplies of motor oil have been hampered, he added.

Russia and neighboring countries are seeing a steep rebound in motor oil demand, Autodoc.ru said.

“Petrochemical enterprises cannot keep up with this demand,” Soloviev said. “We also observed significant price hikes in logistics, packaging and other operational costs. When this process will stop is very difficult to predict. We believe it will continue through the end of this year.”

He added that price increases for motor oils used in commercial vehicles have been more moderate than for passenger car motor oils. In Russia, commercial vehicle motor oil prices increased by 30% from January 2021 to July 2021, while some passenger car motor oil brands raised their prices by 50% for the same period.

In an effort to hold on to big corporate clients, some lube manufacturers have a policy of keeping prices moderate for commercial vehicle motor oil, Soloviev said.

In 2020, Russia consumed 785,000 metric tons of automotive lubricants, Autodoc.ru said, quoting data published by Moscow-based consultancy Russian Automotive Market Research. RAMR found that 332,000 tons went to passenger cars, 139,000 tons to heavy-duty vehicles, 291,000 tons to light commercial vehicles and 23,000 tons to buses.

Besides Russia, prices for finished lubricants have risen across much of the world in the past few months due to steep run-ups in operational costs, including prices for base stocks, which are in short supply.

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