Just two gallons of used motor oil can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24 hours. A surprising fact, especially when you consider the amount of used oil wasted.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 185 million gallons of used motor oil are improperly disposed of by consumers each year—dumped on the ground, tossed in the trash, or poured down the drain. In fact, improperly dumped motor oil releases about 25 times more oil into the environment than spills from all modes of oil transportation combined.
How Does it Work?
Motor oil becomes dirty as it lubricates parts in your engine, but that doesn’t render it unusable. After the oil becomes saturated with dirt and engine particles from regular driving, you should have it removed from you vehicle. During a regular oil change, a Car Care Clinic technician collects the used oil and replaces it with fresh, clean oil. The used oil is later sent to a recycling center.
What Happens to the Oil?
Used motor oil is not put back into automobiles. Most often, it’s re-refined and used to make heating oil, asphalt, and other lubricants. In addition, it’s often used in the oil/petroleum refinery industry.
One gallon of used oil produces as much as 2.5 quarts of refined lubricating oil. Some automobile service centers even use the recycled oil in special heaters that keep the facility warm and help cut costs for stores in especially cold climates.
Why Should You Care?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, each year do-it-yourselfers improperly dispose of 200 million gallons of used motor oil, which is enough oil to fill 10,000 average-sized swimming pools. It is also more than four times the amount of water that travels over Niagara Falls every minute.
When dumped down the drain, this improperly disposed oil either goes straight to the fresh water supply or the ocean, contaminating water that could be used for drinking, the subsistence of aquatic life, or recreation. According to the API, recycling the motor oil from just one oil change protects a million gallons of drinking water, or a year’s supply for 50 people.
The next time you have your oil changed or you change it yourself, be sure to take your used oil to a designated oil collection site for proper disposal. By collecting used oil at every oil change, you can do your part to protect our environment and stop the unnecessary and dangerous disposal of used oil.