Automotive Lubricants

The End of an Era


The End of an Era


Those of you that read the Editor’s Letter know that Lubes’n’Greases’ beloved automotive columnist Steve Swedberg passed away on December 28. While we mourn his passing, perhaps it is fitting to celebrate a life and a career that were, in a word, extraordinary.

Steve began working with Lubes’n’Greases as a “guest editor” in the magazine’s April 2007 issue. With his extensive background and contacts in the lubricants and additives businesses—as well as his experience as a past chairman of the Society of Automotive Engineer’s Technical Committee 1 on automotive engine oils—he had deep technical and market knowledge as well as the sincere respect of readers.

By July 2007, Steve was LNG’s permanent automotive editor. In addition to his monthly column, he wrote more than 50 in-depth feature articles for Lubes’n’Greases magazine and covered breaking news about automotive topics for Lube Report. 

“He was a knowledgeable and creative writer, a stickler for accuracy and curious about the world,” said Lisa Tocci, LNG cofounder and original managing editor of Lubes’n’Greases magazine. “He was open to all kinds of topics for his column and for features, because he was truly enthusiastic about automotive lubricants and wanted to share that enthusiasm with readers.”

Like a lot of people in the industry, Steve believed that lubricants made the world a better place and deserved greater appreciation for their positive impact on consumers, the environment and the global economy. So let’s take a look at some of Steve’s best work and honor a colleague and friend who will be dearly missed. 

The Beginning. Steve’s first column as a permanent editor appeared in the July 2007 issue and discussed why lubricants’ ability to improve fuel economy by even a small amount was a money-saving quality. 

Not a Question Unanswered. Lubes’n’Greases readers often wrote to Steve with questions about automotive lubricants based on their own curiosity or something he had written in previous columns. He took the time to answer these questions individually but would also periodically write a column that would publicly answer some of the most thought-provoking questions he had been asked throughout the year. Check out the December 2020 issue to see which questions Steve thought were most pertinent during that tumultuous year. 

Fifty Years of Engine Oils. In a column titled “The Last 50 Years” that appeared in the October 2013 issue, Steve reflected on the time he had spent working in the lubricants industry. The column explored changes that had occurred in base oils, additives, viscosities and even specifications during his tenure. It created a near-comprehensive timeline of the industry and brought the history of engine oils alive in the present. 

The End of an Era. Steve’s last column, which appeared in the December 2023 issue, was titled “The Hidden Side of Viscosity” and discussed what viscosity is and why it’s perhaps the most important characteristic of engine oils. The column was an excellent example of Steve’s ability to connect lubricants of the past with those of the present and the future.  

Sydney Moore is managing editor of Lubes’n’Greases magazine. Contact her at

Related Topics

Automotive Lubricants    Finished Lubricants