Demand will benefit from synthetics growth in the lubricant market, as well as increasingly stringent
environmental standards, and the increasing availability of new and high quality basestock capacity.
US demand to grow 8.6%
annually through 2015
US demand for synthetic lubricants and
functional fluids is forecast to climb 8.6
percent per year to $7.4 billion in 2015.
Synthetcs will expand their share of the
overall lubricant market, propelled by the
higher performance requirements of
modern equipment, as well as increasingly
stringent environmental standards.
Gains will also be fueled by the expanding
availability of high quality basestocks
due to rising investment in new basestock
capacity, both in the US and overseas.
As the supply of these materials expands,
original equipment manufacturers
(OEMs) are becoming more willing to
recommend the use of high performance
synthetic products, particularly as OEMs
make steps toward global specifications.
Vehicle & equipment
market to remain dominant
The vehicle and equipment market will
remain the largest outlet for synthetic
lubricants through the forecast period.
Within this market, light vehicles account
for the majority of demand due to the
universally synthetic nature of antifreeze,
brake and deicing (windshield wiper)
fluids, in addition to the rising use of
synthetic engine oils and transmission
fluids. Although demand in this segment
will continue to rise, more rapid gains will
be achieved in the medium and heavy
vehicle sector. Fueling growth will be
increasingly stringent greenhouse gas
emissions and fuel economy regulations,
which will generate greater interest
in lower viscosity engine oils that can
handle higher loads and perform well in
higher operating temperatures.
Engine oil to remain
Engine oil will remain the fastest-growing
product type through 2015. These lubricants
primarily find use in automotive
applications, and will therefore benefit
from a rebound in motor vehicle output
from the declines of the 2005-2010
period, as well as continued gains in the
number of motor vehicles in use. The
adoption of the GF-5 and API SN engine
oil specifications in 2010 will further
promote gains. Major auto makers such
as Toyota, Honda and GM now require
at least some type of synthetic or
synthetic blend motor oil for nearly all of
their vehicles. This will drive demand for
synthetics in the engine oil market.
Although volume gains will be limited by
lengthening oil change intervals, demand
for synthetics will grow as they capture a
greater share of the market from conventional
Among the various materials utilized to
formulate synthetic lubricants and functional
fluids, glycol fluids represented
the leading category in 2010. However,
glycol’s share of the market is forecast to
decline due to maturity in the large antifreeze
segment, along with a shift toward
extended flush intervals and fill-for-life
components in automotive design technology.
Polyalphaolefins (PAOs) and
Group III base oils are also key materials,
and are projected to expand at the
fastest rates through 2015.
This study analyzes the $4.9 billion US synthetic lubricant and functional fluid industry. It presents historical demand data for the years 2000, 2005 and 2010, and forecasts for 2015 and 2020 by product (e.g., heat transfer fluids, engine oils, transmission and hydraulic fluids, metalworking fluids, dielectric fluids), material (e.g., glycols, PAOs, group III base oils) and market (e.g., vehicles and equipment, energy/power generation, metal fabrication, process industries).
The study also considers market environment factors, details industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles 26 industry competitors, including Exxon Mobil, BP and FRAM Group.