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US demand for synthetic lubricants and functional fluids to rise about 7% annually

Cleveland, OH - US demand for synthetic lubricants and functional fluids is forecast to increase 6.8% per year to $6.3 billion in 2018, with volume rising to 555 million gallons. “Growth will result from increasing market penetration of...


Cleveland, OH – US demand for synthetic lubricants and functional fluids is forecast to increase 6.8% per year to $6.3 billion in 2018, with volume rising to 555 million gallons. “Growth will result from increasing market penetration of synthetic products at the expense of conventional fluids,” says analyst Jason Carnovale.

The outlook for synthetic products will vary across markets and applications, with each product subject to a unique set of factors influencing demand. These and other trends are presented in Synthetic Lubricants & Functional Fluids, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based market research firm.

Engine oils will account for the largest and fastest share of gains through 2018. In the light vehicle market, synthetic engine oils will benefit from the trend toward low viscosity, energy efficient lubricants, which often necessitates the use of synthetics. Over the past few years, several motor vehicle manufacturers have begun specifying synthetic engine oils for many of their new cars. The upcoming ILSAC GF-6 specification will facilitate the introduction of even lighter viscosity grades than those currently used. Additionally, synthetics will begin to see wider use in the heavy-duty and off-highway segments as well, primarily resulting from the improved fuel efficiency and extended maintenance intervals they allow.

Aside from engine oils, a number of other synthetic products will see strong gains as well. Transmission and hydraulic fluids will be the fastest growing of these, benefiting from increasing demand for synthetic automatic transmission fluids and industrial hydraulic fluids. Increasingly demanding equipment specifications, severe operating conditions, and energy efficiency will be key driving factors for sales of these fluids.

Synthetic metalworking fluids and dielectric fluids will continue to be used where they can provide worker safety or environmental benefits or meet a specific performance requirement, although these markets — along with heat transfer fluids and antifreeze — tend to be more mature and will present more modest prospects for growth.

Synthetic Lubricants & Functional Fluids (published 08/2014, 289 pages) is available for US$5,200 from The Freedonia Group Inc. at http://www.freedoniagroup.com.