Workers on site

The evolution of engine oil

ExxonMobil constantly engineers and tests engine oils to keep up with – and ahead of – this ever-changing automotive landscape. For 40+ years, this heritage has helped set the Mobil 1 brand apart as a legendary formula with a visionary spirit.

In this heritage video, see the history behind Mobil 1™ Synthetic Engine oil from the "Father of Mobil 1" himself, Bill Maxwell.

Synthetics bring unconventional benefits
Years ago, “conventional oil” was simply known as “oil,” because there was no other kind. That changed with the advent of synthetic oil. Whereas conventional oil is just refined crude oil, synthetic oil undergoes different processes.Synthetic lubricants are made with select components that are chemically restructured to create an end product with higher purity and quality than conventional oils. The lubricant’s molecules are engineered to be more uniform and consistent – tailored to meet the specific high-performance demands of modern engines. The base oil is then enhanced with additives that help it deliver:
  • Better wear protection
  • Extreme temperature performance
  • Engine cleanliness
  • Emission system protection
  • Fuel economy potential

At the ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE), our technical centre and blend plant in New Jersey, scientists and engineers use a wealth of experience and resources to carefully select and combine components to maximize synthetic oil’s capabilities. Our technical experts are able to achieve a fully balanced formulation that ensures outstanding engine protection and performance.

Taking oil for a test drive
About 500 formulations are blended each month at the technical centre in New Jersey. Our flagship products consists of about 15 to 20 hand selected components, which consist of synthetic base stocks and performance additives that address the demanding operating environments of today’s machines. Real-world testing begins at the EMRE technical centre, where candidate formulations are put through extreme tests in rigs, engines and vehicles which simulate high-speed, high-load and high-temperature environments. After testing, engines are disassembled and digital microscopes are used to inspect part surfaces for wear.

In another area of the centre, vehicles of every make and model are strapped to dynamometers to test oil blends, sometimes against competitive brands. Cycles can be custom-programmed to generate data for high speeds, stop-and-go traffic, long durations, or any combination of driving conditions.

Production equipment at the plant can blend up to 300 gallons per minute and dispense Mobil oil into anything ranging from plastic quart bottles to tank railcars. From New Jersey, the oil carries more than 40 years of research and development to consumers, shops and race teams around the world, delivering an advanced formula that’s proven to keep engines running like new.

  • Scientists discussing

    Our History

    For more than 150 years, we’ve helped customers around the world – and in every industry – to lower costs, improve productivity, enhance equipment efficiency and much more.