US demand for lubricants is projected to expand slightly to 2.4 billion gallons in 2020, with a market value of $23.5 billion. This will follow a period of modest growth between 2010 and 2015, during which time a number of industries associated with key lubricant markets rebounded from their recessionary lows. Going forward, a positive economic outlook will benefit lubricant demand, with rising manufacturing output and increasing commercial activity offsetting the adoption of longer lasting, higher performing products that facilitate longer drain intervals. These and other trends are presented in Lubricants, a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
“Transmission fluids, gear oils and engine oils will be most affected by the lengthening drain intervals associated with improvement in fluid technology,” noted analyst Minor Cline. Changing from a basic conventional lubricant to a premium synthetic product can potentially double drain intervals, depending on the application. Equipment owners will be drawn by the opportunity to lower their operating costs by reducing lubricant consumption. Synthetics will see significantly faster growth than conventional petroleum products, where performance pressures are strongest, such as metalworking fluids and hydraulic fluids.