U.S. Consumer Lube Demand to Dip


U.S. Consumer Lube Demand to Dip

Demand for consumer automotive lubricants in the U.S. is expected to decline by a 0.8 percent compound annual growth rate from 2015 to 2020, consultancy Kline & Co. projected.

The consumer automotive lubricants demand in any country is dependent on two factors – the rate at which the car park is growing or shrinking, and the frequency of oil changes, Sushmita Dutta, Klines project lead, energy, said during a webinar July 27. The frequency of oil changes in the U.S. market is decreasing, she pointed out, while its car parc has been growing very slowly.

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The U.S. is a developed country with a mature automotive market, so as a result of these two factors, we dont think the U.S. automotive consumer lubricants market will grow during the next 5 years, she said. It could grow in the optimistic scenario if the car parc would grow faster and if the oil change drain interval is not as high as what we are expecting, under the most likely scenario.

The United States demands more than 85 percent of lubricant demand in North America – between 2.2 billion and 2.3 billion gallons – with Canada and Mexico having the remainder.

Dutta noted that the industrial segment constituted close to 50 percent of demand volume in the U.S. in 2015. Thats followed by consumer automotive with more than 25 percent, and the commercial segment accounting for the remainder.

The size of the U.S. consumer automotive market has remained fairly stable between 2011 and 2015, Kline found, with a 0.2 percent compound annual growth rate over that period.

New vehicle sales have been good in 2015 due to low gasoline prices, a surge in demand and vehicle availability, [and] increasing vehicle activity, she said. In addition to this, the improvement in the economy has encouraged vehicle owners to travel for both business as well as leisure, take vacations and get their vehicle serviced at regular intervals. As a result of this, lubricant consumption has not declined, and has remained fairly stable although the industry continues to extend drain intervals.

Photo: George Gill

North America

In 2014, finished lubricants demand in North America reached about 2.7 billion gallons, Kline estimated, making it the second-largest regional market behind Asia-Pacific. Industrial oils and fluids accounted for 46 percent of the total North American volume, about 1.2 billion gallons. Consumer Automotive accounted for more than 25 percent and commercial automotive for the remainder.

Kline found that Mexicos lubricant market was almost equally divided among the three segments – industrial, consumer and commercial. The United States and Canada are more develop and industrialized, she noted, and thus consume more industrial lubricants than Mexico does.


The largest branded suppliers combined accounted for 44 percent of the total North American lubricants demand in 2015. Shell led with around 350 million gallons, followed by ExxonMobil with almost 300 million gallons and Chevron with more than 150 million gallons. Behind were BP, Phillips 66 and Valvoline.

In the U.S. market, Shell also led with close to 300 million gallons, followed by ExxonMobils nearly 200 million gallons and Chevron with around 150 million gallons. Trailing were Phillips 66, BP and Valvoline.

Shell topped the consumer automotive lubricants segment in the United States in 2015 with nearly 150 million gallons, followed by Valvoline with nearly 100 million gallons and BP. Behind were ExxonMobil, Phillips 66 and Chevron.

Shell also topped the U.S. commercial automotive lubricants segment with about 100 million gallons, followed by Chevron at more than 50 million gallons and ExxonMobil with around 50 million gallons. Trailing were Phillips 66, BP and Valvoline.

ExxonMobil led the industrial segment with more than 50 million gallons, followed by Chevrons less than 50 million gallons and Phillips 66. Trailing were Shell, BP and Valvoline.

Klines study is titled, Opportunities in Lubricants: North America Analysis and Opportunities, 2014-2016.

Related Topics

Business    Finished Lubricants    North America    Region