Valvoline Inc.
  • Continuous Oil Refining Co. (1866)
  • Ellis & Leonard
TypePublic company
IndustryChemical manufacturing and distribution, car repair
FoundedSeptember 6, 1866; 155 years ago (1866-09-06) in Binghamton, New York, U.S.
FounderJohn Ellis
Key people
  • Sam Mitchell (CEO)[2]
  • Mary Meixelsperger (CFO)
ProductsMotor oil, additives, lubricants
RevenueIncrease US$2.3 billion (2019)
Number of employees

Valvoline Inc. is an American manufacturer and distributor of Valvoline-brand automotive oil, additives, and lubricants. It also owns the Valvoline Instant Oil Change and Valvoline Express Care chains of car repair centers. As of 2016, it is the second largest oil change service provider in the United States with 10% market share and 1,050 locations.[4][5]


Valvoline motor oils exhibited
Valvoline motor oils exhibited

Dr. John Ellis, the inventor of a petroleum lubricant for steam engines, founded Valvoline on September 6, 1866, in Binghamton, New York, as the "Continuous Oil Refining Company". In 1868, Ellis renamed his Binghamton Cylinder Oil to the more memorable Valvoline. The next year, he moved the Continuous Oil Refining Company to Brooklyn. With his son and son-in-law, Ellis renamed the company to "Ellis & Leonard" and relocated to Shadyside, New Jersey. Valvoline received commendations by Charles F. Chandler and others at the Paris Exhibition of 1878.[6] By the 1890s, Valvoline oil was associated with winning race cars.[7] During the early 20th century, Valvoline was the recommended motor oil for the Ford Model T.[4]

In 1949, Ashland Inc. purchased the Freedom-Valvoline Company.[8] By 2016, Ashland's Valvoline subsidiary accounted for about 37% of the parent company's annual revenue.[4] Valvoline completed an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange on September 22, 2016,[9] ahead of Ashland spinning off Valvoline as an independent company on May 5, 2017.[1]


Number 17 Sprint Cup Series car sporting Valvoline colors
Number 17 Sprint Cup Series car sporting Valvoline colors

Valvoline has sponsored a number of auto races to market its motor oil, including the SCCA National Championship Runoffs and Bommarito Automotive Group 500. Valvoline has also sponsored NASCAR Cup Series driver Mark Martin (1992-2000), CART driver Al Unser Jr. (1988-1993), and NASCAR teams RahMoc Enterprises, and Ginn Racing and Hendrick Motorsports (since 2014).[2]

In Australia, Valvoline owns naming rights to the Sydney Speedway and sponsors the Australian Sprintcar Grand Prix. It also sponsored the 1994 Australian Manufacturers' Championship.

Valvoline was also the official lubricant supplier for Marussia F1 Team in 2014 (later Manor Marussia F1 Team in 2015), but the team didn't show the Valvoline logo branding on Marussia F1 cars despite utilizing Ferrari engines.

Since June 2020, Valvoline sponsors La Liga association club Sevilla FC as a global partner, with their logo appearing on the sleeves of match kits.


  1. ^ a b Caproni, Erin (May 15, 2017). "Ashland, Valvoline complete split". Cincinnati Business Courier. American City Business Journals. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Baniak, Susan (June 22, 2017). "Lexington-based Valvoline Separates from Ashland Inc., Moves into New Headquarters". Business Lexington. Smiley Pete Publishing. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  3. ^ "Valvoline Named to List of Best Places to Work in Kentucky".
  4. ^ a b c Willoughby, Jack (March 12, 2016). "Valvoline Spinoff: A 45% Gain for Ashland Holders". Barron's. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  5. ^ "Motor oil maker Valvoline maps IPO spinoff from Ashland". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. September 13, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  6. ^ Scientific American, "Valvoline". Munn & Company. 1878-12-07. p. 356.
  7. ^ Smith, Gerald (November 19, 2014). "Valvoline was born in Binghamton". Press & Sun-Bulletin. Gannett Company. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  8. ^ Thompson, Eric V. "A Brief History Of Major Oil Companies In The Gulf Region". University of Virginia.
  9. ^ Beckerman, Josh (September 22, 2016). "Valvoline IPO Prices at $22 a Share". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved November 9, 2019.