Re-Refined Oils Help You Go Green Now

Oil Refinery

Walk the aisles of any large auto parts store and you’ll find dozens of motor oil brands that range from the majors (Mobil) to discounted, no-name house offerings. Choices within each brand include a staggering array of different base oils, formulations, and additive packages that meet an equally staggering array of performance levels (API CJ, SM, etc.).

The purpose of this story is not to clear up the choices for you, but to add yet another choice to consider, re-refined oils. You may be surprised to find that re-using old oil is a genuinely green action.

Here’s how oil recycling got its start in the U.S.: In April 2000, then President Bill Clinton signed an executive order that said, “no federal agency shall purchase, sell or arrange for the purchase of virgin petroleum motor vehicle lubricating oils when re-refined motor vehicle lubrication oils are reasonable, available, and meet the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended performance standards.” This means that for the past nine years, governmental agencies that run fleets have generated a healthy demand for recycled and re-refined oils.

Because they are not well publicized, most consumers aren’t aware of commercial oil recycling programs, and what happens to the oil that enters that system. Recycling is a complex industry, but it’s enough to know that a quart of re-refined oil require 85 percent less energy to create than creating a fresh quart from crude stock.

Producers and marketers have jumped at the opportunity to serve this huge government market, and their re-refined oils are now becoming available to non-governmental purchasers if you know where to look and what to ask for. Brand names of re-refined oils include Pro-Guard ECO, EcoPower, PureGreen, America’s Choice, and Firebird. Prices for these oils fall in the same range as non-recycled oil products.

For the record, the re-refining process completely rejuvenates the base oil, making it nearly identical (chemically) to virgin base stocks. Once the base oil is made pure again, a new additive package is mixed in—to fight corrosion and dirt—just as it is with every quart of oil created from virgin base stock. According to industry sources, there is no performance differential between re-refined motor oil products. This is why all re-refined oils meet API and ILSAC standards for motor oils.

Just like recycling pop cans and applesauce jars is a good idea, the same holds true for recycling oil. Now that you know that re-refined oil is available, you’ve got one more thing to think about when your vehicle’s “change oil” light illuminates.