Can Motor Oil Become a Renewable Resource? The Answer Is Yes!

June 18, 2021

Energy companies, car manufacturers and environmentalists worldwide are focused on renewable energy sources these days. And for good reason—moving towards green energy can help alleviate the strain on the Earth caused by fossil fuels. But instead of driving hybrid and electric vehicles to save the planet, why don’t we start oil recycling?

Motor oil never “goes bad.” The only reason we get oil changes so frequently is because the oil becomes contaminated with fuel, water, dirt and other engine-harming debris. Processes that have been around since the 1970s allow us to re-refine old motor oil, effectively restoring it to its original condition.

Europeans have been recycling their motor oil for decades. In fact, 50 percent of motor oil in Europe is re-refined after it’s been used. In North America, however, that number is only 10 to 15 percent.

If companies begin re-refining motor oil and reselling it to us over and over again, we can avoid the need to drill for as much oil. Additionally, we can eliminate the 200 million gallons of oil that are dumped illegally in the U.S. each year.

How does the process work?

Taking recycled oil and turning it into oil that can go right into our engines isn’t magic. The re-refining process takes that oil and removes all of the contaminants to produce new “base oil.” Next the base oil is blended with dispersants, anti-foaming chemicals and other additives that restore the oil to its original condition.

How much old oil does it take to produce re-refined motor oil?

It’d be nice if one gallon of used oil could make one gallon of motor oil that’s ready to go in our vehicles. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. One gallon of recycled oil makes 2 ½ quarts of re-refined oil that can be used in an engine.

The good news is the rest of that base oil can be used to make other lubricants, including automatic transmission fluid and hydraulic fluid.

What can I do with my old oil?

If you’re a DIY-er and change your oil by yourself, don’t just toss the old oil in the trash or dump it down the sink. Those practices lead to contaminating groundwater and killing our local plants and animals. Instead, take your used motor oil to a recycling center, or call a professional to pick it up and haul it off for you.

This process is much easier than disposing of the oil yourself, and you can rest easy knowing you aren’t actively harming the environment.

Trust Safeway Used Oil and Grease to handle your old oil

There’s no guarantee that your oil will actually get recycled when you just call a random company for used oil collection and recycling in New Orleans—thankfully, that’s not the case when you call us! Safeway Used Oil and Grease has over 20 years of experience dealing with old motor oil, so we know how to safely handle and recycle your used motor oil. Reach out today to learn more!

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