Do you really have to buy virgin oil for your car’s engine? No, you do not. Recycled motor oil costs the same and is better for the environment
Recycled motor oil has kind of a bad rap, mostly just because it’s recycled rather than new. But here’s the deal: while virgin oil is great and all, it’s not really any better than the recycled stuff. It just has better PR.
Old vs. New
If being the very first person to use a petroleum product since it was part of a dinosaur turns your crank, well, go for it. It’s your money. But what if you could pay the same price per quart (or even a bit less) for recycled oil that’s just as good?
Admittedly, a few quarts here and there isn’t really going to make our existing oil reserves last much longer. But imagine if millions of people used recycled oil in their cars. How much longer do you suppose those oil reserves might last?
The thing is, they’re not exactly making any more crude oil. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for the next 10 million years or so.
The ecological savings
Not to be crude (ha ha, little petroleum joke there), but remember that little icon on the TV screen that showed oil gushing out of an underwater well at a rate of 60,000 barrels a day for 85 straight days, starting April 20, 2010? The BP Deepwater Horizon well is a mile below the surface, so it was very hard to cap.
FYI, there are 42 gallons per barrel. It’s hard to imagine that up to 2.5 million gallons of oil per day spilled into the Gulf of Mexico for 12 weeks, but it did. Over 200,000,000 gallons of oil lost. An ecology severely damaged. A local economy in ruins. Maybe if we reused what oil we had, that wouldn’t happen again.
Why don’t we?
That’s hard to say, but it’s probably because it’s more profitable for the oil companies to flog their virgin brands. Oil never wears out: it just gets dirty. If it’s filtered and re-refined, it can be reused indefinitely. And these days, the re-refining process is fairly inexpensive.
Re-refined oil also meets, and often exceeds, all government and American Petroleum Institute standards. It costs about the same as virgin oil; you can get a case of 12 quarts for as little as $45, which works out to $3.75 per quart. Not bad. Just do an internet search for “recycled motor oil,” or check with Autozone.
The recycled oils on the market, like America’s Choice and Eco Power, are suitable for just about any car engine. It uses up to 85% less energy to refine, too. It’s less dangerous to the environment. So why not give recycled motor oil a chance, hmm?