In order to meet both robustness and fuel economy requirements, Dexos will most likely have to manufactured from Group III synthetic base stock and an anti-wear additive containing molybdenum. Group III is a very highly refined petroleum base stock that meets the performance definition of traditional “synthetic” motor oil made from man-made polyalfaolefin (PAO) Group IV base stock. Either way, expect Dexos to be a synthetic motor oil, and expect it to be priced accordingly.
Further adding to the price of Dexos will be the inclusion of molybdenum, a rare trace element that costs as much as $37.25 per pound. Compare that with zinc, the most common anti-wear element in motor oil currently on the market, which costs around 65 cents per pound.
Based on discussions among panelists, the per-quart price of Dexos will likely be 40 to 60 percent higher than industry-standard motor oil currently licensed by the American Petroleum Institute (API). Additionally, if past experience applies the quart price of Dexos will involve yet another disparity between dealerships and other service providers. Four times what dealerships pay is the typical increase for non-dealership purchases of licensed proprietary products.
And speaking of licenses, GM also mentioned licensing fees for distributors in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 per year, as well as an “underhood” royalty of 32 cents to $1 per oil change, a fee that would apply to automotive service facilities.