The increase in the desire for mobility over the last 50 years has led to a dramatic growth in the number of vehicles throughout the world and a concomitant increase in demand for fuels and lubricants. This growth in the automotive market has in turn led to concerns over the environmental impact of vehicles and associated oil products.
Against such a background the paper reviews the environmentally-driven changes that have taken place over the years to a wide variety of oil products. These improvements include the removal of lead from gasoline, the development of low sulphur diesel fuel and changes in lubricant formulation to achieve improvements in fuel economy and oil consumption. Recent examples of inter-industry collaboration (the US and European auto-oil programmes) are highlighted as examples of how best to combat evolving environmental concerns.
The paper concludes with a suggestion for the best way to tackle future environmental issues related to the impact of the automotive industry. Namely a process that first defines the extent of the problem, then considers the available solutions and finally selects the most cost effective answer for society. In this way the oil industry will continue to deliver environmentally adapted products, which are cost effective and tailored to the needs of individual countries or regions.
The theme of the continuing evolution of environmentally enhanced petroleum products is rather broad even for a review paper. Thus, to keep the subject manageable, attention is primarily focused on developments in the field of Automotive fuels & lubricants. The key driver in this field has been the increase in desire for mobility over the last 50 yr which has led to a dramatic growth in the number of vehicles throughout the world and a concomitant increase in demand for fuels and lubricants, illustrated in Figs. 1 and 2. This growth in the automotive market has led to concerns over the environmental impact of vehicles and associated oil products which are being tackled by a number of routes, including the tightening of vehicle emissions legislation.
Such legislative developments not only have a direct impact on vehicle technology but also have a significant influence on the development of fuels and lubricants. This is because it is important to not only minimize the direct impact of oil products on the environment but also to enable improvements in the * Former Head of Fuels & Lubricants R&D, Deutsche Shell. environmental performance of vehicle technology to be made. As environmental issues become ever more complex the oil industry has