Lubricant supply issues remain a challenge!

Remember back in the early days of the pandemic when everything shut down? It felt strange to see the roads and highways empty while we all stayed home. Those early days of the pandemic were upsetting, and they are still affecting us today. One of the big reasons that lubricant supply is such a huge problem now is those early shutdowns.

COVID-19 pushed the lubricant industry to the brink
The shutdowns of early 2020 had a massive effect on the oil industry. Fuel and lubricant demand bottomed out, and prices dropped lower than they had in a long time. As a result, many companies cut production, reevaluated their profit margins, and cut back on spending to compensate for these losses. Two years later, demand is higher than ever, but those production cuts and shutdowns still affect the industry.

The lubricant industry is struggling to keep up with the demand
Since the shutdowns, supply chain issues in the lubricant world have continued. Now, base oil and additives shortages make it more difficult than ever for manufacturers. To offset these challenges, many manufacturers have implemented price increases. In 2021 alone, there were six different lubricant price increases in North America, which raised prices by 116%. In addition, Chevron announced a price increase of up to 25% effective March 28th, 2022, and Valvoline announced an 8% price increase on February 1st this year. As a result, finished lubricant products are more expensive than ever, and inventories remain low, especially for passenger car motor oil (PCMO), heavy-duty engine oil (HDEO), and gear oil. As a result, some products that customers have come to rely on are hard to come by, or stock levels consistently remain low, leading to delayed or even canceled shipments.

Railroad transportation issues could lead to more supply problems
Recently the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) announced that they were reducing the number of active railcars in their system because of increased congestion and service issues. In a letter to customers, the company said that it would begin metering traffic after April 18th of this year if customers don’t reduce their inventory. It also plans to remove 2-3% of its railcars until it can bring on more trains and employees. The Union Pacific’s action resulted from increased demand for freight shipping since the pandemic started. Shipping problems have arisen in nearly every industry. For example, it’s now common for container ships to wait 18 days or more in the port of Los Angeles before being unloaded. Before the pandemic, ships never had to wait. The trucking industry has also reported considerable increases in shipping levels amid a massive shortage of trained truck drivers. A recent estimate from the American Trucking Association found that the US industry is short nearly 80,000 truckers!

How will the Union Pacific’s actions affect the lubricant industry?
The Union Pacific Railroad (UP) problems are not uncommon, but they could severely affect the supply of lubricants and the supplies to make finished lubricant goods. One company, CF Industries Holdings Inc., a global manufacturer of hydrogen and nitrogen products, denounced UP’s actions. CF Industries makes nitrogen fertilizers for farmers and diesel exhaust fluid and is the most significant manufacturer of urea, and UAN products. Their Donaldson Complex facility in Louisiana is the largest single production facility for North American products. They primarily ship to their customers throughout the country using private railcars. The UP’s announcement will force the company to immediately reduce its shipments by 20%. Without the ability to ship its products quickly and safely, the company will inevitably face reduced shipping capacity and inventory issues, which will affect lubricant customers. CF Industries will not be the only company affected by the UP’s reductions. Other base oil, additives, and lubricant supplies will also feel the pinch and struggle with shipping delays.

We don’t yet know how exactly the UP’s reductions will affect pricing and supplies issues, but it’s expected that the shortages and price increases may continue. Hopefully, the problem will be short-lived, and things will start to improve. When the UP announced the reductions, they specified that they are currently training 450 new employees, adding 100 locomotives to their fleet, and relocating 80 crew members to high-demand areas. These changes take effect this summer, and the company is hopeful these steps will help relieve the problem.

When will things return to normal in the lubricant industry?
The lubricant industry challenges are large and complex and will not be easily solved. Despite some improvements in allocating base materials for lubricant manufacturing, shipping, supply, and price issues will plague customers for some time to come. The products still mainly affected by these issues are 15W-40 and 5W-40 heavy-duty engine oils and some synthetic passenger car motor oils, hydraulic fluids, way oil, synthetic gear oil, and grease. Unfortunately, many distributors face challenges communicating with lubricant manufacturers and suppliers about product availability. A recent article from Lubes’N’Greases highlighted the domino effect of poor communication plaguing the industry. For example, base oil suppliers struggle to get ahold of their supplies and fill orders for lubricant manufacturers. These manufacturers then face delays and inventory problems and may not clearly communicate product availability to distributors and suppliers. This confusion and lack of clear communication make a difficult situation that much harder.

We will always keep you informed!
As a fuel and lubricants supplier, we will do our best to keep you updated on the lubricant situation and how we are handling it, even if we are struggling to get the information ourselves! We know that your business depends on fuel and lubricant supplies. Our team at Greg’s Petro is committed to helping you get the supplies you need or providing recommendations or alternative solutions if required. If you have questions about your fuel or lubricant needs, talk to your Greg’s Petro representative, and let’s see what we can do for you.

Early Bird Sponsor of the 2022 St Jude Dream Home Giveaway Bakersfield

St. Jude has partnered with Sinclair Broadcast Group and John Balfanz Homes, as well as many other local companies, to build and give away the 18th annual St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway house in Bakersfield, CA.

We are proud to announce that we are the Early Bird Sponsor of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway for the fifth year in a row! As part of our sponsorship, we will be giving away FREE FUEL FOR A YEAR to a very lucky winner!

To be entered into the drawing for a chance to win the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway and/or one of several other main prizes, Kern County residents can reserve a ticket for $100 by visiting dreamhome.org or by calling 800-385-9134. Purchase your ticket by July 1st for your chance to win our prize of FUEL FOR A YEAR.

Ticket proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago.

Tune in to Eyewitness News to see the drawing for the house and all other prizes on August 18, 2022.

Help us make a difference and join the fight to end childhood cancer. Purchase your ticket today!

Chevron’s PitPack packaging solution is a great option for quick lube businesses!

Did you know that a single plastic bottle takes up to 450 years to decompose in a landfill? That’s a long time. Plastic bottles and containers are a big part of the oil and lubricant industry, practically every manufacturer uses them, but it’s time to find another way. Since plastic production began in the 1950s, over 6.5 billion tons of plastic materials have been thrown away, and only a tiny portion, 600 million tons, has been recycled. The rest clogs up landfills and our oceans, causing environmental damage.

Are consumers willing to pay more for sustainable products?
Consumers have shifted to more sustainable shopping habits in the past few years, especially among younger generations. A recent report from First Insight found that Gen Z consumers’ willingness to pay for more sustainable products increased by 42%. The report also concluded that consumers across age groups are willing to spend more on sustainable options. According to the data on sustainable consumer behavior, their top desire is to help the environment, with 23% wishing to reduce production waste and 22% wishing to reduce their carbon footprint. These statistics show that businesses willing to invest in more sustainable practices and reduce waste can appeal more to environmentally friendly consumers.

Can quick lube businesses adopt more sustainable practices?
Traditionally quick lube businesses are not thought of as environmentally friendly. Most of these types of businesses use plenty of plastic materials, promote the use of oil and gas, and service hundreds of customers each day. As a result, the carbon footprint of a quick lube business is pretty high, but it doesn’t have to be. Innovations like Chevron’s PitPack packaging solution are helping quick lube owners make more environmentally friendly choices and reduce production waste.

The Chevron PitPak® uses 89% less plastic than 946 ml bottles. This simple but innovative design is surprisingly effective. The lubricant is stored in a bag inside the corrugated, fully recyclable box, which has a built-in nozzle. The standard sizing of the box makes it easier to store than traditional oil and lubricant bottles. The package has more spacing for more prominent labels for accessible storage practices. You can even get a PitPack® Rack kit to store multiple boxes and liter dispensing jugs for easy usage. Right now, these products are available in PitPack® packaging:

  • Havoline® ProDS® Full Synthetic 0W-20, 5W-20, 5W-30, and Euro 5W-40
  • Havoline® Synthetic Blend 0W-20, 5W-20, AND 5W-30
  • Havoline® High Mileage 0W-20, 5W-20, 5W-30, and 10W-30
  • Havoline® Motor Oil 5W-20, 5W-30, and 10W-30
  • Havoline ® ATF Full Synthetic MV ATF and Global MV ATF
  • Delo® 400 SDE 15W-40, XLE SynBlend 10W-30, and XSP Synthetic 5W-40

But there are more benefits to the PitPack® packaging than reduced packaging waste. For example, many quick lube owners struggle to store their products. Owners report that they need to have a lot more lubricant varieties than they used to, as there are more makes and models of vehicles on the road, and people drive their cars longer. More specialized lubricants in the shop means it can be challenging to organize and store your supplies efficiently, especially in traditional quart bottles. The PitPack® packaging system makes storage easier by:

  • Standardizing the space required for lubricant storage. For example, instead of trying to store oil drums or different-sized bottles, everything is one size.
  • More prominent labels for easier identification
  • Easier oil transfer for technicians. The dripless dispenser nozzles make it easy to transfer lubricants to reusable six-quart jugs with special lids to reduce contamination. Using this system can cut back on messy spills when technicians are servicing vehicles.
  • Less product waste. Instead of leaving oil trapped in the bottle, the oil in the bag system reduces product waste to the equivalent of 24 individual bottles!

The PitPack® system is just one of the many ways that Chevron is helping business owners manage their inventory better. Smart inventory management can increase your profits if you are willing to put in the time and effort.

How can better inventory management help? Here are the best practices you can try.

  • Focus on employee training. Inventory management starts with each employee. You need an organized system, and you need to make sure that everyone sticks to that system. Ensure your employees practice good shop habits like putting things away properly, keeping things neat, and rotating inventory regularly.
  • Improve your organization. Organizing your lubricant supplies will save you time and money. It will help your technicians complete oil changes faster when your inventory is appropriately managed (like in the PitPack® storage rack). Jason Berry, the owner of two Havoline Xpress lube® locations, says, “I’m a stickler for a super clean shop, and the PitPack® solution is for me. Maximizing storage space compared to quarts is also a great benefit and helps the environment.”
  • Create better ordering practices. Another advantage of the PitPack® system is that it makes ordering easier. The boxes hold more than traditional quart bottles, so you don’t have to place as many orders, and the large label design makes it easy to see what you need to order right on the shelf.

The last piece of advice we have is to consult your Greg’s Petro representative. Together, we can examine the trends in your region, look at your sales history, and figure out the best product and package mix for your business. Our team has excellent insights and recommendations, and we are here to help. As a Chevron lubricants supplier, we always look for the best Chevron products to share with our customers, like the PitPack®. Consumer trends and lubricant needs are constantly changing, so paying attention to what your customers want is essential. Right now, customers want sustainable options and lubricant variety, and the PitPack® options check off both boxes. If you’re ready to try these products or others in your shop, or if you need help improving your inventory practices so you can save money, give us a call! We’re here to help!

Havoline PRO-RS is the sustainable lubricant choice!

The fuel and lubricant supply industry currently faces two main concerns: higher prices and lubricant additives shortages. Unfortunately, these issues are primarily out of our control as suppliers. Record-high oil prices and supply issues are driving the higher lubricant prices worldwide. Similarly, additive shortages are affected by dwindling base oil supply stock. For many of our customers, these issues have caused great concern. They’ve had to reevaluate their lubricant budgets to reduce costs or switch to different lubricant products because their usual supplies are no longer available.

These ongoing supply and prices issues are not going away anytime soon in the lubricant world. So it’s time to start thinking outside the box. Luckily, Chevron is constantly innovating and conducting world-class research to find the latest lubricant technology breakthroughs to create superior products for their customer. One of their newest products may be the solution customers are looking for during these challenging times.

What are biofuels?
As we all know, climate change is a real threat to our planet and the fuel and lubricant industry. The fuel and lubricant industry is a massive emitter of greenhouse gases and carbon into our atmosphere, which causes climate change issues. But Chevron is committed to reducing its environmental footprint through various initiatives and by exploring new technologies.

To better address environmental concerns, Chevron has turned to the world of biofuel. Biofuels are nothing new. For years, fuel has been produced using biomass plant materials. The main product is ethanol, a biofuel created from plant materials approved for use in gasoline-powered vehicles. Most gasoline sold in the United States contains some ethanol now. In 2020, the 123.49 billion gallons of gasoline used in the United States had 12.63 billion gallons of fuel ethanol, about 10% of all gasoline fuel consumption. Typically the ethanol content of gas in the United States contains about 10% ethanol content, though it varies by region and blend. You can also find specific gasoline blends with higher ethanol too.

While ethanol may be the most high-profile biofuel material, it’s not the only one. Biofuel practices and technologies are already part of the fuel world. Besides ethanol blending, biodiesel products are produced from renewable sources such as vegetable oils, animal fats, and recycled cooking grease. These technologies and other plant-based fuel initiatives are gaining popularity daily as the fuel world looks for cleaner alternatives to petroleum-based products.

But what about biobased lubricants?
Unlike bio-based fuel and blends, plant-based lubricants have been much slower to appear on the market. The biggest reason is that it’s much more challenging to make an effective biobased lubricant than fuel. As a result, manufacturers struggled to create environmentally friendly products that still performed as well as petroleum-based lubricant supplies. Some of the biggest challenges lubricant manufacturers face in developing plant-based lubricant supplies include operating temperature limitations, fast degradation of bio-oils, lack of viscosity range, poor temperature fluidity, and increased sludge formation.

Chevron figured out biobased lubricants
Despite many of the difficulties that come from creating plant-based lubricants, Chevron’s research and development team set out to solve the problem. They started by creating a superior plant-based feedstock derived from plant seeds and pulp, then refined it into usable oil. This feedstock turned out to have better purity and molecular structure, so it was less likely to break down because it had lower volatility and friction. Once the plant-based feedstock was developed, the Chevron team created a proprietary process called ECOSTRENGTH™ Technology to filter out wax and other impurities from the stock. This process turns the feedstock into a premium lubricant!

Introducing Havoline PRO-RS™
Chevron’s plant-based technology breakthroughs helped create a revolutionary lubricant product, Havoline PRO-RS™. This fully synthetic top-tier, renewable motor oil includes 25% sustainably sourced plant-based oils derived using the ECOSTRENGTH™ process. But, this product is more than just a more sustainable choice. It also delivers superior lubricant performance, including:

  • Up to 19% lower volatility than other synthetic motor oils, which helps your oil last longer and reduces your oil consumption
  • Superior turbocharger efficiency and protection, up to 20% more effective than other synthetic motor oils, which helps extend the life of engine turbochargers
  • Better stress test durability. Tests showed that it could keep your engine running up to 1.3x longer than other synthetic motor oils
  • Oil viscosity is maintained longer, providing better thermal protection
  • Superior sludge control to meet OEM requirements, so your engine stays cleaner for longer

As for the sustainability features of this product, you can expect environmental benefits such as:

  • Top fuel economy over the life of the oil to help save on fuel costs
  • Better emission control
  • Up to 37% lower carbon intensity than other synthetic motor oils
  • It’s a USDA Certified Biobased product
  • Environmentally friendly packaging that uses 89% less plastic than traditional plastic bottles

Chevron is so confident in the Havoline PRO-RS™ product that it calls it the ‘best in the lineup.’ It’s backed by the Chevron limited product warranty and meets or exceeds all the latest automaker standards. You can order this product in four viscosity grades, including OW-16, OW-20, 5W-20, and 5W-30.

Why should you switch to more sustainable lubricants?
If you’re not sure if trying out the Havoline PRO-RS™ lubricant is right for you, consider these benefits of switching to more sustainable fuel and lubricant supplies, including:

  • Better fuel economy
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Potentially lower costs over time
  • Improved engine cleanliness and better emission control

But the biggest benefit of switching to more sustainable products is that it’s better for our planet. The more businesses and consumers switch to these types of products, and the more manufacturers will invest time and money into creating more sustainable products. That helps our planet! We are all concerned about the growing threat of climate change, and many of your customers may be eager for more sustainable choices. Wayne Glasser, General Manager at OILEX Grease Monkey®, says, “When Chevron introduced its new premium full synthetic, renewable passenger car motor oil – Havoline® PRO-RS™ – we jumped at the opportunity to include this product in our shops. We knew that our customers would be interested in having a premium full synthetic motor oil option for their vehicle. The fact that it is made with sustainably sourced plant-based oils means that we are all taking actions to support more sustainable practices. Most importantly, we’re able to expand our top-tier products by offering a differentiated, full synthetic motor oil to our customers. The bottom line is that Havoline PRO-RS is helping our business grow, and this motor oil really is better for vehicles and the environment!”

If you want to offer your customers the same opportunities, contact your Chevron Lubricants Supplier, Greg’s Petroleum Service today!