The lubricants business in 2019 was marked by continued consolidation, intensification of rivalry among major brands and private label, and some unexpected events. And although there were fewer price increases than in a typical year, marketers had to do a double take on a double increase that was pushed through. In short, it was a challenging year for some and a year of opportunities for others.
One of the main challenges came into play when base oil manufacturers announced price increases ranging from 5 to 20 cents per gallon in early March. As is typically the case, when base oil prices go up, lubricant prices soon follow-and they did. Chevron was the first to move with an announcement on March 22 that it would be increasing its lubricant prices by up to 6 percent, effective May 6.