First-quarter U.S. lubricant sales volumes increased 1.3 percent compared to thesame period last year, according to the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, but the growth was mostly due to demand for process oils.
NPRA’s Quarterly Index of Lubricant Sales, released last week, showed industrial process oil sales for the first three months of 2003 up 14.1 percent over the same period of 2002. That increase offset an 8.9 percent drop in sales of industrial lubricants, for an overall rise of 3.2 percent in the markets industrial segment. Sales of automotive lubes grew a scant 0.9 percent. Grease sales were off by 4.9 percent.