Synthetics Make Gains Despite Flatness in Overall Lubricants
Synthetics offer many benefits over conventional petroleum fluids, such as longer fluid lifetimes, better wear protection, and improved energy efficiency. Since lengthening drain intervals will cause the overall market for lubricants and functional fluids to be flat, demand for synthetics will grow at the expense of conventional petroleum products. Synthetics will penetrate new markets due to rising technical requirements and growing consumer awareness. As a result, lubricant and functional fluid producers will increasingly focus research and development efforts on high value synthetics.
Key Findings in the Synthetic Lubricants & Functional Fluids Study:
Engine Oils Evolve to Meet New Requirements
Engine oils will remain the largest product type in the synthetic lubricants and functional fluids market. Regulatory requirements, including Corporate Average Fuel Economy and EPA emissions standards, will drive rapid changes in the synthetic engine oil market. These changes will steer the market towards low viscosity synthetic engine oils. Smaller, more efficient, and turbocharged light vehicle engines will place greater demands on lubrication. Heavy duty truck operators will also begin to switch to lower viscosity engine oils, creating opportunities for synthetics. Improved fuel economy is a primary benefit of these products.
Demand for Group III Base Oils Continues to Climb
Compared to other synthetic base stocks, Group III base oils are significantly lower in price and still offer improved performance over conventional petroleum. As a result of their lower price and suitability for a wide range of applications, growth of Group III base oils will outpace that of competitive materials such as polyalphaolefins (PAOs). The highest gains will originate in the synthetic automotive engine oils market, where Group III base oils dominate.
Varying Results for Glycols
Engine coolant demand will continue to decline, although at a slower rate than what was observed between 2005 and 2015. Since engine coolants are the largest outlet for ethylene glycols used in synthetic lubricants and functional fluids, demand for ethylene glycols will stagnate. The outlook for propylene glycols is somewhat brighter because of their attractiveness as specialty nontoxic coolants. Polyalkylene glycols, on the other hand, will experience robust growth, as these materials are used in high value synthetic lubricants.
This study presents historical demand data (2005, 2010, and 2015) and forecasts (2020 and 2025) by product (engine oil, engine coolant/antifreeze, transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, heat transfer fluid, electrical oil, metalworking fluid), material (glycols, polyalphaolefin, Group III base oils, esters, aromatics-based chemicals, silicone fluids), and market (light vehicles, medium and heavy duty vehicles, off-highway equipment, industrial equipment, process industries, metal processing, aerospace, energy and power generation). The study also evaluates company market share and competitive analysis on industry competitors including AMSOIL, BP, Chevron, Dow Chemical, Eastman Chemical, Exxon Mobil, Old World Industries, Prestone Products, Shell, and Valvoline.