15 Facts About Lubricants That Might Surprise You

For those readers new to lubricants, you may hear us say “lubricants keep the world moving”.

Today, we gathered all the lubricants facts that we shared in our ‘DID YOU KNOW’ series throughout 2022 on our LinkedIn page to help highlight the diverse applications and interesting history of lubricants.

Read on for 15 interesting facts about lubricants and the lubricants industry.

Fact 1

Oil was used by ancient societies. Oil usage isn’t just something modern societies have pioneered; in fact, oil has been used for over 5,000 years. Oil was seeping through to the surface of the earth, providing sufficient resources for their purposes. It is thought that the ancient Sumerians (roughly 4,000 BC) and Babylonians (roughly 1894 BC) were thought to have used crude oil. Later, the ancient Greeks and Romans used petroleum as a lubricant for sealing.

Fact 2 

Have you ever wondered how much lubricant is produced from a barrel of crude oil? According to the 2017 Lubes’N’Greases Industry Factbook, a barrel of crude oil produces an average of 44.9 gallons of products which include:

22.9 Gallons Of Gasoline

10.6 Gallons Of Diesel/Home Heating Oil

3.6 Gallons Of Kerosene Type Jet Fuel

2.0 Gallons Of Coke

6 Gallons Of Still Gas

1.4 Gallons Of Liquefied Refinery Gases

0.9 Gallon Of Heavy, Residual Fuel Oils

0.7 Gallon Of Asphalt And Road Oil

0.7 Gallon Of Petrochemical Feedstocks


0.3 Gallon Of Other

As you can see from the list shown above, only a fraction of a gallon of lubricant is produced from a barrel of crude.

Fact 3

Lubricants are actually fairly similar. Lubricants like oil and grease both fall under the lubricant umbrella but are slightly different from one another, mostly when it comes to consistency. Both serve roughly the same purpose – protecting machinery from everyday wear and tear. They are performance boosters such as anti-wear agents or rust inhibitors are then added to create the perfect mix that keeps engines and gears happy.

Fact 4

Many lubricants exhibit some elastic effects. The behaviour of lubricants cannot be fully explained just by assuming that they are purely viscous fluids. Grease, for example, is viscoelastic: under certain conditions, it behaves as a viscous fluid – for instance when it flows freely in a pipe under an applied pressure; on other occasions, it acts like a solid, for example prior to flowing.

Fact 5

The colour of the lubricant doesn’t matter. Operators often associate their grease with a specific colour, such as rich blue or deep red. While these colours are eye-catching, the reality is that they have no correlation with performance. Manufacturers add dyes to help operators distinguish one product from another, since different greases are typically used in different parts of the same machine.

Fact 6

Lubricants stay smooth even at 35,000 feet. A plane’s engine needs lubricants to allow for a smooth flight and safe landing. Jet oil has to endure some of the toughest conditions of any lubricant, withstanding extreme temperatures from as low as -94 °F (-70°C), when a plane reaches cruising altitude, to 356°F (180°C), when it lands and pilots activate the brakes.

Fact 7

Sustainable lubricant is not a new idea. Sustainable lubricants have been on the market for many years. In fact, as early as World War I and World War II, industries switched to vegetable oils for greases, lubricants and other applications as a result of rationing. In the 1970s, alternatives to oils were also sought out during the oil embargo.

Fact 8

To get wind power you need lubricants. When it comes to wind energy, it’s all about the spin. But without proper lubrication, wind turbines can’t make their rotations. As the global adoption of wind turbines continues to rise in response to advancements in wind technology, economists estimate that the wind turbine lubrication market will reach a total value of $226.1 million by 2026.

Fact 9

Globally, more than 50% of the total lubricant volume is being used for automobiles, approx. 40% for industrial purposes and rest in the marine industry.

Fact 10

Lubricants are known as the “blood of the car”. Besides helping race cars reach their maximum potential, it also gives insight into the health of the engine. Formula 1 technical advisors Sean Dunnett and Dario Izzo take samples of used engine oil, much like a doctor might take a blood sample, to look for underlying issues so they can be addressed before any major problems arise.

Fact 11

Lubricants help the wheels go around and CO2 go down. When engines are properly lubricated, there’s less friction between moving parts (this is true for high- or low-viscosity lubes). That means vehicles can run more efficiently and increase fuel economy by up to 2%. Beyond saving money at the pump, better fuel economy also helps lower a vehicle’s overall CO2 output.

Fact 12

The fuel savings from improving and using effective engine lubricants equate to average savings per vehicle of between €37–€67 per year for cars and €720–€1282 per year for heavy trucks.

Fact 13

Lubricants play a crucial role in data centre innovations. The immersion fluid solutions can significantly reduce power consumption in data centres throughout the world. While market projections vary, it is broadly agreed that the immersion cooling market is emerging and will be a high growth sector over the coming years.

Fact 14

Digitalization has the potential to create around $1 trillion of value for the oil & gas supply chain. Of that amount, $260-$275 billion is expected to accrue to downstream companies.

Fact 15

Women make up 22% of employees in the oil & gas industry worldwide. Entry-level positions are comprised of 27% women, 17% are at senior and executive-level roles and just 1% of oil & gas CEOs are women.


Come back to our blog page for more facts and news from the ever-evolving lubricants industry, and don’t forget ​​to follow our LinkedIn page to stay up-to-date with the newest trends.