Cars are an indispensable fact of life for most of us. So, too, are abundant and clean supplies of drinking water. What we do with the used oil from our cars plays an important role in balancing our desire for convenient transportation with our desire for a clean and healthy environment today and for future generations.
We are all familiar with recycling newspapers, aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles, but you may not be aware of the efforts of the petroleum industry and other groups to promote used motor oil recycling: providing convenient collection sites for the purpose of keeping used motor oil out of our waterways and ground water supplies and getting used oil into the recycling system.
Motor oil has value even after it has been drained from an engine. The oil you take to a collection center to be recycled saves energy. It can be reprocessed and used in furnaces for heat or in power plants to generate electricity for homes, schools, and businesses. It can also be sent to a refinery that specializes in processing used oil and re-refined into lubricating base oils that can be used to formulate engine oils meeting API specifications.
What can you do? If you change your own oil, be certain that you take it to a collection center for recycling. If you take your car to an automotive service outlet, you can be fairly certain that they recycle the oil that they change. But if you're not sure, ask.
Used motor oil that is collected by "do-it-yourselfers" is critical to the used oil recycling system. Next time you change your own oil, remember, you can make a difference by recycling the oil from your car, truck, motorcycle, boat, recreational vehicle or lawnmower. By dropping off your used motor oil today you help prevent pollution and conserve energy for a safer and healthier tomorrow.