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While the global lubricants market is estimated at a massive 46 billion litres, it has shown minimal volume movement over the past few years, mainly due to economic conditions. However, the demand for high performance synthetic products has grown.

The popularity of synthetic engine oil has grown as an alternative to conventional mineral oils. Industry reports indicate the synthetic oil growth rate to be three times greater than that of mineral oil. The benefits of high performance synthetic and semi-synthetic oils have resulted in its adoption into both the automotive and industrial markets. 

The advantages of synthetic motor oil include:

  1. Better low and high temperature viscosity performance. Allows oil to flow easier at cold engine start-up, reaching and lubricating the moving parts, while also offering protection at higher operating temperatures.
  2. Synthetic oils have a higher viscosity index (VI) plus better chemical and shear stability.
  3. Synthetic oils’ resistance to oxidation and thermal breakdown reduces the potential for the oil to sludge. This in-turn allows for extended drain interval, reduced oil waste and a lower carbon footprint  
  4. Because synthetic oils’ molecular structure is more uniform than that of a mineral oil, it allows for smoother and cooler engine operation resulting in more power. 
  5. Synthetic oils can offer improved fuel economy.

The transport sector in Africa is a key consumer of lubricants. But, where more advanced economies are fast-tracking the adoption of synthetic lubricants, the African market is lagging behind. Commercial vehicle demographics show a clear disconnect in terms of engine lubricant quality. 

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