A Look at Environmental Issues

Used Motor Oil
Over 640 million gallons of motor oil are sold annually, but what happens to this oil once it is used, drained and replaced? It should get recycled, but unfortunately, 40 percent of all used oil is carelessly dumped on the ground or down the sewer, while another 21 percent is thrown out with the trash, eventually seeping out and entering ground water supplies and waterways. Crankcase oil accounts for more than 40 percent of pollution in the nation's harbors and waterways. Because of the damage used oil does to the environment, both government and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have pushed for used oil recycling programs and longer oil drain intervals. Some states collect taxes on each quart of new oil to help fund used oil recycling programs.

It is everyone's responsibility to recycle and ensure used motor oil doesn't end up polluting rivers, lakes, streams, soil and ground water. In fact, recycling the motor oil from just one oil change protects one million gallons of drinking water from contamination.

Used motor oil can serve as a valuable energy resource too, being reprocessed into fuel that is burned in furnaces and in power plants to generate heat and electricity. In fact, just two gallons of used motor oil can provide enough electricity to run the average household for a day, or:

• Cook 48 meals in a microwave oven
• Blow dry your hair 216 times
• Vacuum your house for 15 months
• Watch television for 180 hours

Motorists who take their vehicles to an automotive service outlet for an oil change can be reasonably certain they recycle the used oil. Motorists who change their own oil should be certain to discard it properly. Most service stations, repair facilities and quick lubes will accept used oil. If not, check with your local government or recycling coordinator.

Used filters are also recyclable. Some states have banned dumping used filters into landfills, while others have placed restrictions on how they may be discarded. The Filter Manufacturing Council has a website listing the regulations for each state: www.filtercouncil.org/.

AMSOIL plays a large role in pollution reduction by offering pollutant source reduction. Most automobile manufacturers recommend oil drain intervals of 3,000 to 7,500 miles for conventional oils, but AMSOIL recommends up to a 35,000-mile drain interval. In other words, by taking advantage of AMSOIL's extended drain intervals, motorists reduce volume of used oil by up to 11 times.

Efforts to reduce exhaust emissions have been making headlines lately. New GF-3 requirements for gasoline engine oils were recently released, as well as the new API CH-4 service classification for diesel engines. Both reflect the same goal: to dramatically reduce exhaust emissions and promote cleaner air quality.

Conventional oils lose up to 20 percent of their original weight right out the tailpipe in high temperature service, causing them to thicken and circulate poorly, contributing to not only increased emissions, but also increased wear and decreased fuel economy.