Motor Oil Prices Climb Again


U.S. motor oil marketers raised prices again this month, citing continued increases in costs of raw materials and other inputs. Majors marked up packaged passenger car motor oils by between 30 cents and 64 cents per gallon. One leading marketer has already announced a second increase for later this month.

Seven leading suppliers made their hikes effective March 1, according to industry sources. BP-Castrol went for the biggest increase, raising prices for packages of conventional passenger car engine oils by 64 cents per gallon. ExxonMobil added 40 cents to prices for both Exxon and Mobil branded oils, while Chevron, Citgo, Shell and Valvoline moved up 36 cents. ConocoPhillips raised prices on Kendall oils by 30 cents.

The companies themselves declined to confirm or deny these increases.

In addition, one source said yesterday that Valvoline has announced an additional increase of 28 cents per gallon to take effect March 27. Warren Oil Co., one of the nations largest independent lubricant manufacturers, reportedly raised its prices on packaged oils by 32 cents today.

This months increases were the sixth round of finished oil hikes in the past two years and the fourth since last spring. That is a fast pace of change for a market that rarely has undergone more than two markups a year and in some years none. Still, blenders have complained that their increases have not kept up with rising costs.

ExxonMobil distributed a letter to customers documenting the run-up in costs for base oils, as well as fuels, industrial chemicals and steel.