Will Alternative Powered Vehicles Kill the Oil Change Industry? - No, Not for a Long While

Despite what you think, industries don't change very quickly - it's usually a very slow process. Even when industries die, it's usually more like a slow-motion train wreck, and then they still don't die completely. Over the years, I've analyzed many industries which I've been involved with, and I've noticed changes, along with all the sound and fury of impending chaos, and incited fear. The reality is; mostly it's all just talk, and industries are generally pretty entrenched, and they don't go away overnight.

That's not to say it doesn't happen, it can, but generally it takes a long time, and there is an evolutionary process as entrepreneurs figure out another way to make money, or a way to modify their services and products to deal with the changes. Now then, the other day I was thinking about this, and I read a very interesting article in the oil change industry.

There was an interesting article last month in NOLN - National Oil and Lube News on page 74 titled; "Report: Electric Vehicles to Have No Immediate Impact on Lube Industry," by Garrett Mackinnon, June 2011. The article comments on all of the new all electric cars coming out such as the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Sedan, and Chevy Volt; and the article asks a good question; if all the cars go to electric, then will it affect the oil change industry?

Interestingly enough back in 2001 I had a similar discussion with the editor of that magazine in Lubbock Texas where they are/were located, and I had indicated that I expected some day that the oil change industry would have a challenge with hybrids and all-electric vehicles or fuel-cell vehicles sometime in the future. Now then, that was 10 years ago, and here we are today asking the question again.

Judging by the fact that only 2 million hybrids have been sold in the United States over the last 10 years, and that the average number of cars sold per year is between 12 million and 17 million, the number of hybrids is a drop in the oil bucket, literally. The same goes for all-electric vehicles, and there are even fewer of those. In fact, there probably will not even be 10 to 25,000 of them on the road by January 2012.

Considering that there are easily 200 million licensed vehicles in this great nation, it's rather ridiculous to think that something like this would shut down the oil change industry anytime soon.

In fact at the rate it is going now, it may never happen, and even if oil prices shot up to $8-$10 a gallon, it would take decades to build the number of cars needed to displace the oil change industry. Likewise, the oil change industry would have time to evolve and adapt, and provide perhaps other types of lubricants because these new vehicles would still have moving parts. Even fuel cells have filters, membranes, and other things that are replaceable parts, and someone needs to help with the routine maintenance.

Further, electric batteries don't last forever either, and they need to be monitored, and replaced, perhaps that is yet another add-on service for oil change companies? Personally I wouldn't be too surprised if this is a total non-issue in the industry, and that the industry has nothing to worry about with regards to all-electric, or hybrid vehicles. But the government waste oil disposal laws might a concern in the future, if the cost for removal and disposal increases due to regulations.

Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes writing 23,900 articles by July 4, 2011 is going to be difficult because all the letters on his keyboard are now worn off now...


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