Particle Counting – here’s why you need it!

Lubricant and engine oil supplies are scarce, and prices are high right now. To save money and product, you might be trying to stretch your supplies for as long as possible. However, this method can work if you are careful and consistently check your machinery for lubricant effectiveness and particle contamination. Particle continuation is the bane of every operator. Microscopic particles of dirt, broken down product, water, and other materials that infiltrate your engines and lubricant supplies can wear down the effectiveness of your lubricant and slowly destroy your engine. Getting your lubricant supplies tested is the best way to monitor for contamination.

Is Particle Count the best way to measure contamination?
Particle counting has evolved over the years. The smallest particle size containments are usually less than 2 microns and are typically silt, resin, or oxidation deposits. These types of particles are likely to do the most damage to a moving surface over time. Therefore, measuring the concentration level of particles in oil or lubricants gives us a good idea of potential contamination problems.

A particle count test measures the quantity and particle size of the particles in the lubricant sample. This count is then measured against the target ISO Cleanliness Code for the system. If the cleanliness target can’t be reached, it’s a sign of potentially deadly contamination. Particle counts are reported in various micron size ranges. Particle count testing assumes that the number of particles doubles or more for every increase in the ISO Cleanliness Code.

How does the ISO Cleanliness Code work?
The ISO Cleanliness code is determined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Basically, they wanted a way for everyone to have the same measurements for their particle count analysis, so they created a system of measurement and standards. Manufacturers, mechanics, and testing labs use the ISO Cleanliness Code to set specific cleanliness targets for their supplies and machinery. It acts as a sort of warning system. For example, if you find that your hydraulic system particle count passes the ISO code target you set, you know that it’s time for a system cleaning or to switch to a newer, cleaner lubricant to avoid engine damage.

When you send your samples to a lab for oil analysis, they will do a particle count using an automatic particle counter (APC). This technology counts the particles using laser or pore blockage methods. The results are then measured against the targeted ISO Cleanliness codes. For example, the reported standard for fluid cleanliness is ISO 4406:99. This excellent article from Machinery Lubrication can help you learn more about how ISO Codes apply to particle count analysis.

When is particle counting most beneficial?
Particle counting is one of the most common oil and lubricant analysis tests, but it’s not always the best test for figuring out what’s going on with your supplies because you don’t learn what the particles are. For example, suppose your lubricants are contaminated by silt, dust, or environmental containments. In that case, it may indicate a storage issue or a handling problem affecting your supplies’ cleanliness. The simple way to fix that issue would be to improve your storage and handling practices so your lubricants stay clean before putting them in the engine. But you can’t figure that out simply from a particle count analysis. So you might switch out your lubricant supplies, switch to new ones, or perform unnecessary machinery cleaning because you aren’t sure what particles are contaminating your lubricants.

What machinery benefits most from particle testing?
Particle counting is one only of the many valuable tests you can get from oil analysis. Of course, it would be best to have the full roster of testing to determine the best maintenance actions. But even though there are limits to what you can learn from particle testing, it’s still an essential measurement for lubricant cleanliness, especially for these types of machinery or engines:

  • Hydraulic systems
  • Compressors
  • Refrigeration Compressors
  • Turbines
  • Automatic Transmissions
  • Natural Gas Engines
  • Robotics
  • Injection Molding Machines
  • Filtered Bearing
  • Gear Systems

One of the reasons particle counting is so effective for these types of machinery or components is that it accurately measures what is flowing through the system. Particles flowing into a component or engine will cause problems down the line by scraping against moving parts, leading to machinery or engine problems like erosion, burnout, jamming, or slower responses. Particle counting is also a very effective measurement of filtration effectiveness. Simply by taking samples before the lubricant goes through a component filter and after, you can see how effective the filter is at catching particles and stopping them from flowing freely throughout the system. These measurements can help you determine when to switch out filters or switch to more effective ones.

What lubricant and fluids benefit most from particle testing?
Keeping your lubricant and machinery fluids clean is a hard job. Particle counting is a very effective for measuring lubricant cleanliness, especially for:

  • Diesel fuel
  • Solvents
  • Water-based fluids
  • Lubricants with viscosity levels less than ISO 220 or SAE 50

These fluids are particularly susceptible to particle continuation, but almost all lubricant supplies may benefit from particle testing. Even testing your new oil supplies before you use them may be helpful! A particle count test will tell you if your supplies are clean when they arrive and ready to use or if you need to perform additional filtering before use.

Join our Oil Analysis Program
We know that times are tough, and you’re trying to stretch your lubricant supplies as far as they will go. The safest way to do that is by regularly testing your supplies to ensure their cleanliness and effectiveness. We offer the Chevron LubeWatch Oil Analysis preventative maintenance program. Sign up today, and you can get testing on particle counts, viscosity, breakdown contamination, wear metals, coolants, and more. Using the results from your analysis, you will be able to set more specific cleanliness targets and adjust your maintenance schedule to the exact needs of your equipment. It’s a great way to prevent costly maintenance and equipment downtime and utilize your lubricant supplies. Call your Greg’s Petroleum Service representative today to get started.

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!

Why are fuel and lubricant prices rising so fast?

Fuel and lubricant prices are rising fast. They are growing at a rate we haven’t seen in years. Earlier this month, the national average of gasoline hit the record high at $4.104 gallons, beating the previous record from 2008 during the height of the Great Recession. These rising prices are very concerning because there is a new record high or a new reason why prices continue to climb every day. Oil and fuel prices have always ridden a wild rollercoaster of ups and downs, but lately, the ride is on a breakneck speed upward with no hope of stopping.

As a fuel and lubricant supplier, we want you to know that we are doing our best to help our customers through these challenging times. One of the ways we are doing that is by keeping a close eye on the situation and communicating why these changes continue to happen. As a result, you can expect us to stay ahead of the curve as we carefully watch the changing oil and fuel markets across the globe. Then we will do our best to communicate developments as we see them unfold so that you can plan for business.

Expect high fuel prices to last
First, let’s talk about fuel prices. We all know that costs are at record highs and climbing. The record-breaking fuel price high earlier this month on March 7 is just one of the latest fuel records to break. The national average cost of gasoline recently saw its largest 7-day price spike. Moreover, the ongoing conflict in Russia and other world events will continue to affect price increases.

According to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy: “Americans have never seen gasoline prices this high, nor have we seen price increases so fast and furious. That combination makes this situation all the more remarkable and intense, with crippling sanctions on Russia curbing their flow of oil, leading to the massive spike in the price of all fuels: gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and more. It’s a dire situation and won’t improve any time soon. The high prices are likely to stick around for not days or weeks like they did in 2008 but months. GasBuddy now expects the yearly national average to rise to its highest ever recorded.”

Lubricant prices are going up amid supply issues
Rising fuel prices are not the only thing business owners have to contend with; lubricant prices and availability are also becoming a problem. The increased cost of raw materials, transportation, and availability of base oils contribute to higher lubricant prices and increased scarcity of some products. One of the most significant issues facing lubricant manufacturers is the availability of additives and components, making blending finished products difficult. These disruptions are causing some manufacturers to phase out specific products or leading to long wait times for orders. In addition, many distributors struggle to find some lubricant supplies, and when they do, the prices are often higher. As a result, major manufacturers have announced price increases, including ExxonMobil, Excel Paralubes, and Chevron.

One reason manufacturers are implementing price increases is the rising cost of base oil supplies. Base oil prices have increased twice this year alone. In addition, ExxonMobil announced a $ 0.30-gallon price increase effective March 14. Demand for base oil remains high as these supplies are essential for the production of lubricant supplies and additives. Base oil prices are also strongly influenced by diesel oil prices which are also rising rapidly to record heights. Distributors expect that this situation will continue for the time being, and high prices and shortages may last for months.

Oil prices are the culprit
Most fuel and lubricant suppliers knew that prices would rise as we came out of the COVID-19 pandemic and demand increased. But the record-setting highs we’ve seen are more than anyone imagined. Now, the Russia-Ukraine war is further complicating things, as countries worldwide impose economic sanctions on Russia and their oil supplies.

Crude oil is always the driving factor behind fuel and lubricant price increases. If the oil price goes up, you can expect to be paying more at the pump. In early 2022, crude oil prices were high, around $79 a barrel in January, but as the year progressed, demand increased. But as the conflict in Ukraine escalated into a full-out war, prices rose dramatically. As of February 4, oil was around $90 a barrel. It remains to be seen exactly how the fallout of the Russian-Ukraine war will affect oil prices worldwide. We expect that prices will continue to increase. Russia produces 10% of the world’s oil supply and is also a key member of OPEC+. Sanctions against the country and its oil supplies could have significant consequences.

The record high price of oil also comes when there is low supply in the market. OPEC+ has missed output targets, and there is significant slow growth in oil production worldwide. This low supply combined with increased demand as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic is cause for concern. According to the International Energy Agency, global oil demand is expected to reach 100.6 million barrels a day in the coming year.

How to offset fuel price increases
As your fuel and lubricant supplier, we know that these prices increases are not easy. Everything is getting more expensive as inflation costs rise, and your profit margins will pay the price. We want you to know that we are here for you. Here are a few programs we offer that may help reduce your fuel budget and needs.

  • Fleet Fueling Program: We offer an extensive fleet fueling program that may significantly reduce fuel costs and helps you closely monitor your consumption. Using our program, you can supply your drivers with fleet fueling cards that are easy to monitor. They will have access to a nationwide network of 24-hour card lock fuelling sites, and you’ll have itemized accounting of all your fuel costs. This program also has several safeguards to prevent fraud and fuel theft!
  • Oil Analysis: Rising lubricant costs and supply scarcity mean that it may be more difficult in the coming months to get the lubricant supplies you need. Our oil analysis program can help. Our lab will provide custom lubricant recommendations and equipment analysis using the data gathered from your oil samples. These findings can help you take preventative measures to prevent costly maintenance and lower your overall lubricant costs.
  • Bulk Fuel Delivery and Remote Tank Monitoring: You can also offset the rising cost of fuel by buying in bulk and storing your fuel onsite. We also offer remote tank monitoring services to ensure that your bulk fuel supplies are protected from theft. Our remote monitoring tools can also help you monitor your usage so you can strategically time when you buy your next load of fuel when prices may be lower.

There is a lot out of our control in the fuel and lubricant world right now. Like you, we watch the changing developments with trepidation and hope for the best. If you have any questions about our high quality fuel and lubricants, call us today.

How to handle a grease transition

Recently Chevron announced the sunset of some of their grease products. These products are being phased out due to supply chain issues. Supplies of these grease products will only be available while inventory lasts, and after that time, customers will need to transition to new products. You can view the affected products here.

It is often frustrating when your favorite products or supplies are phased out. Many of our clients worry about compatibility issues or performance problems when transitioning to new products. That’s a very normal feeling, and we want to ease your mind about the process of transitioning to new grease products.

Grease 101
First, it’s important to remember that grease products always have a little diversity, even in the same product line. Grease products from different refinery locations can look different, even if they have the same makeup. Many customers fixate on grease color, but the color is often not that important. Usually, the grease is dyed to make identification easier for users. The thing to remember about grease products is that they are derived from locally sourced base oils when possible. So, even if two products have the same formula, the base oils used in different refinery locations may be slightly different, which can cause color and appearance changes. However, the grease products still have the same properties and capabilities despite the differences.

So, when you’re transitioning to a new grease product, don’t get hung up on the color or appearance of the grease. Instead, you need to focus on the compatibility and performance of the product for your needs. Chevron’s grease compatibility matrix is the best way to check which type of grease you need. This document guides you through the different levels of grease compatibility based on thickener type.

Grease products are composed of base fluid oils, thickeners, and additives. The thickener holds these substances together as grease so that it can be applied to the equipment. Different thickener types affect the performance of the grease. Here’s how it works: when the grease is applied to the moving part, the pressure exerted by the movement separates the base oil and additives from the thickener as the part moves, which then lubricates the machinery. The oil is reabsorbed back into the thickener when the moving parts stop. When grease is incompatible, this process doesn’t occur the way it should, and the oil isn’t reabsorbed into the thickener. The process is called ‘bleeding,’ and it appears when you choose the wrong grease or if there is contamination or incompatibility. If you follow the principles of the Chevron Grease Matrix, you should be able to avoid this problem and other compatibility issues as you transition to new grease products.

What about oil separation during storage?
Customers worried about ‘bleeding’ are often concerned about oil separation in their grease products during storage. They may report a layer of separated oil on top of the product, a lumpy texture, or surface cracking. Oil separation during storage is very normal and often causes no harm. Usually, you can restore the grease by stirring it up before applying it to the machinery.

Oil separation typically occurs when products are stored in high-temperature areas, at least over 43ºF. If you follow proper storage procedures, you will generally prevent this issue. We recommend following these grease storage protocols.

  • Store products in cool, dry areas with minimal exposure. Indoor storage is best, and a temperature range with 32ºF to 77ºF. Ensure that your products are not exposed to dust particulates to avoid label and container deterioration.
  • Store products in an upright position to prevent oil separation.
  • Cover your products with plastic covers or tip oil drums to prevent water and particulate contamination when storing outdoors.
  • Rotate inventory regularly, so you are using your oldest supplies first.
  • Warm up your grease products to the dispensing temperature before use.
  • Use airtight containers, and wipe the containers off before opening to prevent contamination.
  • Clean tools and equipment you are using with your grease products before handling.

If you open your grease products and notice some oil separation, you can pour the excess oil off into a compatible container or absorbent bag. You can also stir the product to reabsorb the oil into the thickener. If you are concerned about excessive oil separation, get your products tested and analyzed for contamination or water damage.

Chevron has a large selection of grease products
Choosing the proper grease for your equipment is a complicated process, so, understandably, it’s frustrating when your favorite products are no longer available. But, even though some common Chevron grease products are being phased out, that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be able to find other grease supplies with compatible properties. Chevron has an extensive product line and has developed various products for your lubrication needs. The replacement products Chevron is recommending provide the same level of lubricant and additive performance. It’s just a different product formula. Check the new replacement products against the Grease matrix and your equipment manual standards. You might even find that the new grease products provide additional coverage or performance.

We can help you find the right grease products
We’re not saying that one grease is the same as all others. There is a great deal of diversity among grease products, even in the same product line. But it is possible to get the same level of lubricant performance from a different but equally compatible product. It helps if you understand how grease lubricants are produced and work. Once you have that basic understanding and know-how to care for and store your lubricant supplies properly, you can then select a new compatible grease product for your equipment needs.
Our role is to help make this process easier for you. If you are concerned about any of these product changes, please call your Greg’s Petroleum Service rep. We can walk you through the selection process, explain the Chevron grease matrix, and help you select the right lubricant products for your equipment needs. We even have an oil analysis program to test your supplies for compatibility or contamination to ensure that you get the best lubricant performance. As your local fuel and lubricants supplier, we're here to help...call us today if you have any questions.

Greg’s Petroleum Service Salutes Our Veterans

To help celebrate and give back to our veterans, Greg’s Petroleum Service is partnering with KGET for the Veteran Salute Contest.

Our Veterans are our real-life heroes, for all they have done past, present and future. That’s why we want you to help us honor the Veterans in your life. Encourage them to share their inspiring stories for our community to see and celebrate, and for a chance to win a $150 gift card. A very small token of appreciation for their service.

Kern County strongly celebrates our veterans because even if you haven’t served, you know a loved one who did. We are a close-knit family community that supports our Vets and all they’ve done for us, our community, and our country.

Studio 17’s Ilyana Capellan talks to Gabriel Sauceda, sales manager of Greg’s Petroleum Service, and veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, about the importance of giving back to veterans in Kern County. Check out his live interview, here.

To nominate the veteran in your life for a chance to win, click here. We’ll randomly draw one lucky winner on March 25, April 22, and May 27. Good luck and thank you for your service!

To learn more about Greg’s Petroleum Service and check out their job openings, visit our website.

These case studies show that Chevron ISOCLEAN Certified Lubricants make a difference!

Investing in new equipment is a great way to increase productivity and efficiency, but only if the equipment is maintained correctly. As a fuel and lubricant supplier, we want to help our customers make the best lubrication decisions for their business. In this blog, we will share two case studies from Chevron that showcase the importance of adopting lubricant cleanliness standards to maintain equipment.

Case Study #1- Trinity River Lumber Co.
First, let’s explore the Trinity River Lumber Co. in Weaverville, CA. For 75 years, the mill has processed fir and white fir logs into lumber, but a decade ago, the mill needed to rebuild after a devastating fire. As a result, the owners invested in new equipment, including 20 electro-hydraulic servo values that helped keep the logs flowing into the mill. The mill began implementing lubricant cleanliness standards to protect these valves and the new equipment.

They started by switching to Chevron ISOCLEAN® lubricants. Making the switch to ISOCCLEAN® lubricants was a no-brainer for the company. They began using Chevron’s Rando® HD 68 Hydraulic fluid for their hydraulic needs. They also implemented the ISOCLEAN® SmartFill label program to improve oil storage. The lead lubrication technician, Jeffery Evans, says, “We adopted the ISOCLEAN® product about four years ago. [We found] that the oil in our system lasted longer, and we saw a higher level of reliability.”

Make the switch to ISOCLEAN® Certified Lubricants
The first lesson that this case study shows us is the importance of switching to Chevron ISOCLEAN® Certified lubricants. We can’t say enough about how great this program is and why it’s so valuable for our customers. Here is a quick overview of the program and why it works.

The ISOCLEAN® certified lubricants are cleaner than typical lubricants. Chevron’s higher testing and production standards help reduce particle contamination and improve cleanliness. Suppliers and customers know that even brand-new lubricant products straight from the supplier can become contaminated with particles that will damage your equipment over time. All this contamination often occurs during processing, transportation, or storage. Typically, new lubricant products can contain 32x more particle containments than is recommended for equipment use. Chevron’s ISOCLEAN® lubricants are lab-tested using Chevron’s state-of-the-art processes to meet OEM cleanliness standards. The increased cleanliness of ISOCLEAN® lubricants means that they increase component life, improve reliability, and help reduce the need for equipment maintenance and onsite filtering. Chevron has even created a calculator that you can use to save how much your company will save by switching to ISOCLEAN® lubricants.

Try Chevron’s SmartFill® labeling system
The other tactic that helped to improve lubricant cleanliness and performance for Trinity River Lumber Co. was implementing Chevron’s SmartFill® labeling system. Proper lubricant storage and labeling are essential to maintain cleanliness and avoid lubricant waste. However, many businesses struggle to implement such programs. It takes time and effort to organize a dedicated lube room and labeling program. Chevron saw that many business owners were struggling with this and decided to create the SmartFill® program.

The SmartFill® program makes it easier to maintain lubricant integrity with proper storage and labeling practices. This system utilizes strong visuals and process flow maps to improve productivity and sustain lubricant cleanliness. The SmartFill® program provides operators with labels for different lubricants and storage materials with charts to track everything. These tools make it easier for operators to categorize supplies by product name, ISO grade, shelf life, and other standards. It’s a ready-to-go program that simplifies lubricant storage, so you don’t have to create a whole system from scratch. At Trinity Lumber Co., they used the system to create a dedicated bulk storage area with Des-Case breathers and direct couplers to maintain cleanliness.

Case Study #2- Full-Service Waste Provider in Georgia
Communities depend on waste collection providers to keep their streets and homes clean, but waste providers’ machinery and equipment go through a lot of wear and tear. The local waste service provider in the Central Savannah River Area of Georgia knows this too well. The locally owned company has 26 waste collection trucks with different engines and lubricant needs. From 2011 to 2012, the company began struggling. Their lubricant supplies were not doing the job, and several of their trucks were experiencing hydraulic issues. The hydraulic fluids and engine oil weren’t performing, which caused excessive heat leading to seal failures in the valve bodies and cylinders. Unfortunately, the extra heat was also causing engine oil breakdowns. The only way to deal with that issue was to change the oil every 250 hours!

After an audit and lab analysis of their equipment and oil samples, they realized that lubricant cleanliness was the problem. The oils they were using didn’t meet OEM ISO Cleanliness requirements. However, the company was determined to fix the problem, so they switched to Chevron ISOCLEAN® certified lubricants and engine oils. Like Trinity River Lumber Co., they started using Chevron Rando® HD 68- ISOCLEAN hydraulic oil and saved an estimated $400 a truck! In addition, they found that “sticking valves and leaking seals were costing us over $12,000 each year in pump cylinder and valve body cost. [When we switched] to ISOCLEAN Certified Rando HD 68 in midstream, one pump’s life was almost doubled.”

Making the switch to ISOCLEAN® is worth it!
As a certified Chevron supplier, we know the value of their ISOCLEAN® certified lubricants and engine oils. Just like these case studies show, it makes a difference. We’ve seen our customers’ results when they make the switch and implement lubricant cleanliness standards in their business. If you want to protect your equipment, you need to invest in clean lubricants to reduce equipment downtime and maintenance. From our point of view, your best bet is Chevron ISOCLEAN® certified lubricants. So, if you’re ready to make the switch, contact your Greg’s Petroleum Service representative to start today!

Supply chain issues are plaguing the lubricant industry. Are you prepared?

Supply chain disruptions are nothing new, especially in the oil industry. A hurricane can wipe out production at a refinery leading to shortages and price increases, or a ship can get stuck in a canal. These things happen. In fact, in 2005, Hurricane Rita caused significant disruptions to the lubricant industry. Tammi Walts, then the vice president of Idemistu Lubricants, could not fill an order for a US automotive plant because the hurricane disrupted the supply chain. She didn’t have the additives and base oils she needed to complete the order, so she had to call in a big favor and have the fluids airlifted from a supplier warehouse in Japan!

This example shows how easily the supply chain can be disrupted, especially in the oil and fuel industry. As we all know, the supply chain for every type of good has been under tremendous stress over the past few years. It started with the shutdowns at the start of 2020 when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Problems have continued through other significant events like the ice storm in Texas and the blockage of the Suez canal. In addition, the decreased demand for fuel and lubricant supplies in early 2020 and 2021 have also exacerbated production and supply chain issues.

Now, in 2022 as our economy recovers and oil and fuel demand skyrockets, shortages are occurring everywhere. Almost every industry has been affected, and orders take longer to fill. In the lubricant world, deficits are being reported of some of the most common engine oils and lubricants, including 15W-40 and 5W-40 heavy-duty engine oils, full synthetic passenger vehicle oil, way oil, hydraulic oils, synthetic gear oils, and EP grease.

What is causing lubricant shortages now?
First off, it’s important to remember that the supply chain never fully recovered from the events of 2020 and 2021. Demand for fuel and lubricants skyrocketed when things were starting to improve at the end of 2020, which caused further strain. By 2021, lubricant manufacturers began to feel the pressure as base oil, and additive supply tightened worldwide. This strain caused seven record price increases from December 2020 to October 2021 for base oils and additives. These issues continue to plague the market in 2022. But new supply chain complications are also causing problems, such as:

  • The Omicron variant is a big issue for our supply chain management. While this new variant is typically milder, it is more contagious and has led to record high cases, which leads to worker shortages and production delays.
  • Labor shortages are also causing issues for various industries. In November 2021, there were a record-high 10 million job openings across the country, as more than 4.4 million people quit their jobs. The movement is known as the ‘great resignation’ as workers protest working conditions, hours, and pay. This labor shortage affects all industries, including the oil and lubricant industry.

There are a lot of issues that affect the supply chain, but one of the largest right now is the shortage of truckers. Nearly every good we buy from our produce to our motor oil is transported at some stage by a truck driver. 72% of all goods we consume are moved by truck. Trucks are a critical part of the supply chain, and right now, drivers are in short supply. The industry has long faced workforce challenges, including long hours, pay issues, and poor working conditions, but those became increasingly apparent during the pandemic. Truck drivers scrambled to meet demand, stay safe and healthy on the road and faced significant challenges. Turnover is high among drivers, and the workforce is aging and struggling to recruit younger drivers. The Biden administration even announced a Trucking Action Plan to address these concerns and issues and to help strengthen the trucking workforce across America.

How will these supply chain issues affect your business?

It may be harder to get your lubricant and fuel supplies. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to prevent supply chain issues. But we can help you prepare for the changes that may come. Here are a few things you should expect in 2022.

  • Longer wait times for lubricant supplies. The supply chain issues the industry is facing may increase wait times for specific products or make them harder to find. We suggest planning out your needs when ordering so that you have time to wait for your order to arrive. Make sure you also plan your maintenance schedule around reduced lubricant supplies.
  • Be prepared for price changes. If you’ve recently filled up at the pump, you’ve probably noticed that gas prices are up. Gasbuddy reports that the national average is up 12.3 cents from Jan 2022 and 97.5 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. Fuel prices are a great indicator of how the whole oil and lubricant industry will be affected. If fuel prices are increasing, lubricant prices will not be far behind. So take time to look over your budget and begin preparing for increases now.
  • Reduced Inventory. Most of the supply chain issues directly affecting the oil and lubricant industry are additive and base oil-related. As a result, there isn’t as much stock available, causing shortages for some products, especially ones with additives. As a result, it may be more challenging to find specific products. Be prepared to order alternatives when needed.

Trust us to be your fuel and lubricant supplier
As your fuel and lubricant supplier, we will do our best to mitigate the effect of these supply chain disturbances. But sometimes, the effects of these disturbances may be out of our control. We will do our best to work with each of our customers to ensure that you have the supplies you need, even if that means we have to stretch our inventory a little.
In the 2005 lubricant shortage crisis, one of the ways that the industry worked to meet orders was by communicating with one another and working together. Blenders worked together to share inventory and regularly reached out to base oil and additive distributors to help make orders for companies. Sometimes they reduced orders to ensure that everyone got some of what they needed until things picked back up. That spirit of cooperation and collaboration is what we are striving for during these tumultuous times. We will do our best to communicate directly with you to meet your needs and work with our various partners to find what you need. Together we will be able to weather this crisis until things cool down. We appreciate your patience and trust in us as your fuel and lubricants supplier.

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