Fast lube industry growth continues to slow, and profit margins slipped in the past year, according to National Oil & Lube News. For the fifth consecutive year, smaller fast oil change operators reported that they plan to open fewer stores than the previous year. Average profit margins for smaller operators declined from 13.1 percent last year to 11.8 percent this year, while average profits at larger companies dropped from 14 percent a year ago to 12.7 percent this year.
National Oil & Lube News reported the results of its 2002 Fast Lube Operators Survey in its September issue. Nearly 300 U.S. fast oil change operators replied, representing close to 4,000 facilities. The Lubbock, Texas-based tabloid reported the replies in two groups: the LT30 group, consisting of companies owning less than 30 stores; and the MT30 group, companies owning and operating more than 30 facilities.