I borrowed the title of this column from H. G. Wells. His book of the same name was published in 1933 and contains a lot of predictions about the future of the world. I can promise you that this column is not nearly that ambitious, insofar as engine oil is concerned. What I want to discuss is the direction of the next generation of light-duty, gasoline-fueled engine oils, known unofficially as GF-7.
I’ve been asking around about what the OEMs are looking for in the next generation of engine lubricants, but there isn’t much conversation yet. In my experience, that means something is cooking and there will be something coming out pretty soon. I’m writing this in late March, so by the time it’s published in June there may be more definitive information out there. Let’s get started.
As I often do, I’ll go backwards to look at earlier categories as a gauge of what might be happening. I remember well the early 1970s as an era of big changes. There was the Arab Oil Embargo and its impact on fuel costs. The increase in cost of a gallon of gasoline in 1973 dwarfed the current situation. In the space of about one year, gasoline went from $0.25 per gallon to $0.70/gal, an increase of 180%. Comparatively, in the 2021-2022 era we have seen a 40% increase in cost at the pump.