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JobbersWorld is a Petroleum Trends International, Inc. Publication

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Finished Lubricant Supply Remains Very Tight

While upward price movements continue due to unprecedented increases in the cost of raw materials, transportation, and other inputs, many lubricant distributors are reportedly struggling to secure adequate supply of certain finished lubricants to meet growing demand as we climb out of the pandemic. Shortages are particularly evident with 15W-40 and 5W-40 heavy duty engine oil, full synthetic passenger car motor oil, way oil, some types of hydraulic fluids, synthetic gear oil, and EP grease.

Although tight supply is seen across the industry, it’s impacting some brands and lubricant manufacturers more so than others. In addition to allocations, long lead times, and short orders for certain products, distributors are finding that some of their suppliers are simply out of the product they need.   

According to what a number of blenders are hearing, the shortages are due, in part, to supply line interruptions impacting such additives/components as antioxidants, the polymers used to manufacture viscosity modifiers, lithium hydroxide, and some others.

As to when supply will return to some semblance of normal, distributors are not particularly optimistic. Although they continue to hear suppliers say it will be 4 to 6 weeks, many distributors are anticipating it could be six months or more.

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