Most people don’t associate Las Vegas as the center of the car universe, but for me the city is a driving force behind some of the biggest innovations under the hood.
I am a senior engineer at ExxonMobil, coordinating the company’s lubricant testing program in Las Vegas. My home office is in Clinton, New Jersey – home of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering (EMRE).
But, each month I travel to Las Vegas, specifically to a cab company’s garage just off The Strip, to oversee a program that helps drivers around the world get the best out of their motor oil (whether they know it or not.)
Inside the bustling garage of Lucky Cab, my team and I pull thousands of oil samples (more than 2,600 since 2014, actually) from the taxis that shuttle visitors around this energetic city. These samples represent real world data points for scientists and formulators back in New Jersey who are busy developing the next generation of oils.
And, we didn’t choose Las Vegas by chance, or for its tourist attractions and casinos. Las Vegas is unique and well suited for our large-scale testing operations. The cab drivers here are hard on their cars and the oil running through their engines. The city’s stop-and-go traffic, the tremendous amount of idling outside casinos and the huge temperature swings make Las Vegas an ideal testing ground.
And for me, being on the front lines, collecting real-world data – at such a large scale – is an engineer’s dream job. These findings flow right through the organization, into the lab and to the engines of millions of cars.
It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished from a garage tucked away on the edge of Las Vegas.