Lubricant sales volumes in the United States leveled off in 2004, slipping a mere 0.5 percent after four consecutive years of significant declines, according to the latest data from the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. Finished lubricant sales actually twitched up 0.4 percent from 2003.
The nations overall demand for lubes wasdragged down by a sizable drop in consumption of process oils in 2004, compared to 2003. Released March 23, NPRAs Quarterly Index of Lubricant Sales for the fourth quarter and full year 2004 showed a 4.2 percent drop in process oil volumes for the year as a whole. Sales across the rest of the market grew just a bit – the automotive sector by 0.3 percent, industrial lubricants by 0.6 percent and greases by 2.5 percent.