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April 11, 2012

What’s new in Green for Cars

Carcare-logoUsed Oil Recycling Program

The Facts About Re-Refined Oil

What is Re-Refined Oil?

Re-refined oil is used motor oil that undergoes an extensive re-refining process to remove contaminants to produce a good-as-new base oil. This base oil is then sold to blenders who add additive packages to produce lubricants such as motor oil, transmission fluid, and grease. The main difference between re-refined and virgin oil products is that re-refined represents the responsible choice for the environment.

Are Re-Refined Lubricants Safe to Use?

Lubricants made from re-refined base stocks must undergo the same testing and meet the same standards as virgin lubricants in order to receive the certification of the American Petroleum Institute (API). Vehicle and engine manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, and Detroit Diesel have issued warranty statements that allow the use of re-refined oil as long as it meets API standards. Many government and private fleets have used re-refined lubricants in their vehicles for years and report no difference in performance from virgin lubricants.

Why Use Re-Refined Oil?

Re-refined oil is good for the environment and it’s priced competitively to regular motor oil. Also, do-it-yourself oil changers “close the recycling loop” with re-refined oil by turning in their old oil and purchasing motor oil that has been used, re-refined, and put back on store shelves for reuse.

Buying re-refined oil reduces our dependence on imported oil, reduces the depletion of natural resources, eliminates waste material, and helps create jobs. By using and promoting the use of re-refined lubricants, you accomplish the following:

  • Preserve a non-renewable resource—oil.
  • Demonstrate your commitment to a cleaner environment through recycling and proper waste management.
  • Help protect the environment against pollution.
  • Re-Refined Oil by the Numbers
  • It takes one gallon of used oil to produce 2.5 quarts of re-refined oil.

If all used motor oil generated by the public was collected and re-refined, it would provide enough oil for more than 8 million cars each year.

What is Being Done to Promote the Use of Re-Refined Oil?

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) promotes closed loop recycling and the use of re-refined lubricants. Cal Recycle’s used oil program, awarded a contract to the California State University-Long Beach Foundation to promote the use of re-refined lubricants. The Long Beach Foundation project focuses on fleet manager training. Fleet manager training increases the market demand for re-refined oil by educating fleet managers on re-refined oil quality and successful uses.

Alternative Fuels

Type of Vehicle Environmental Impact Cost to Drive Price and Availability
BATTERY-POWERED ELECTRIC Depends on whether the electricity comes from wind, nuclear, or coal. No tailpipe emissions. 3 cents per mile based on today’s electricity prices. The Tesla Roadster costs $109,000. Other small companies make low-speed cars starting under $10,000.
NATURAL GAS Emits 95% less smog-causing pollutants and 30% less greenhouse gases than gasoline. A gallon ranges from 60 cents to more than $2. Honda’s Civic GX gets 24 mpg in the city, 36 on the highway. The Honda Civic GX costs $25,200. Conversion kits for vehicles like the Chevy Tahoe and Lincoln Town Car start at $1900.
ETHANOL/BIODIESEL Lower emissions than gasoline, but critics say more energy is used to produce ethanol than is contained in the fuel itself. Ethanol costs about $2 per gallon, biodiesel $4. Mileage is 10%-20% less in cars using E85, an 85% ethanol blend. Special models of vehicles like the Chrysler Sebring, Ford F-150, and GMC Yukon all can run on E85 and cost about the same as regular models of those cars.
HYBRID Better gas mileage means lower emissions. The Toyota Prius, the most-efficient and most-popular hybrid, gets 45 mpg. The Prius costs $22,000; Chevy’s plug-in hybrid Volt should be available in 2010 for $40,000.
HYDROGEN COMBUSTION Virtually no tailpipe emissions. Some pollution is created converting natural gas into hydrogen. When the market is established, a gallon should cost about $1.10. BMW and Ford are making test vehicles, but no car is commercially available.

Source: Parade Magazine, January 2009

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