Fast Lubes: $9 Billion and Growing


U.S. fast lubes total 16,716, up 185 stores from a year ago and the first such growth in more than three years, according to National Oil & Lube News 2011 Tops in the Industry Ranking.

NOLN published its annual lists of the largest fast lube chains and other oil change providers in its March 2011 issue, and estimated that industry sales in the U.S. will reach more than $9 billion this year, an increase of $100 million from 2010. Much of that sales increase will come from the fast lube sectors growing market share, which stands at an estimated 30 to 35 percent of the total installed auto maintenance market, NOLN noted. That total figure has increased in recent years partly due to the decline in the number of new-car dealerships.

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As of Feb. 28, 2011, Jiffy Lube remained at the top of the fast lube chains list with 1,963 stores, down 1 percent from 2010. The other largest fast-lube chains were Valvoline Instant Oil Change (872, up 3 percent from 2010), Pennzoil 10-Minute Oil Change (750), Kwik Kar (390, up 1 percent) and Havoline Xpress Lube (350). Chevron last year rebranded the Texaco Xpress Lube stores as Havoline locations.

If theres any overriding trend right now, its that major franchise groups like Jiffy Lube and Valvoline Instant Oil Change, and specifically their franchisees, are really on a spending spree, NOLN Editor Garrett McKinnon told Lube Report. Weve got groups all over the country that are buying up other groups like crazy. It seems like in some instances there has been a lot of private equity money flowing into those franchisees hands, and theyve been able to expand aggressively with that money.

That may speak highly for the health of the fast lube industry, he added. I dont think they would have had that much private equity money flowing into it if investors didnt believe in it and in the future of it, McKinnon observed.

Walmart Tire & Lube Express, termed an oil change-plus chain because activities other than oil changes generate a majority of their revenues, topped all oil change lists with 2,450 total U.S. stores. The other top five in the category included Bridgestone Retail Operations (2,149 stores), Goodyear Tire & Service Network Outlets (1,834), Midas Auto Service Experts (1,491) and TBC Retail Group (1,245). Bridgestone and TBC represent groupings of several shop brands operated by a single company.

McKinnon pointed out that the grey area of what separates a fast lube from a full service auto store, muffler or brake shop continued to change. When you look at a tire shop, previously thats just what theyve been doing, he noted. But now theyre getting 55 to 60 percent of their revenue from oil changes and other auto maintenance, so to our reckoning, that puts them in the category of a fast lube.

NOLNs associated lube chains list of independent operators owning six or more branded facilities was again led by North Florida Lubes with 62 Havoline Xpress lube and two NFL Xpress Lube locations. It was followed by Southern Express Lube (37 Mobil Lube Express and four Shell Rapid Lube locations), Pioneer Quick Lube (25 Pennzoil 10-Minute Oil Change locations), and Fast Change Lube & Oil (21 Pennzoil 10-Minute Oil Change locations).

The complete study is available to NOLN nonsubscribers for $75. To order, e-mail Misty Dolan at or visit A monthly magazine for the fast lube industry, NOLN is based in Lubbock, Texas.

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