January 27, 2008

Used Motor Oil Harms the Environment

The California Integrated Waste Management Board recently launched 3000milemyth.org to further educate Californians about the need to change their cars' oil based on manufacturers' guidelines.

"Used motor oil poses the greatest environmental risk of all auto fluids. With better made cars and the rise of synthetic oils, the 3,000-mile standard is not always recommended," board Chairwoman Margo Reid Brown said in a statement.

Research shows that the question of when to change a car's engine oil continues to be a consumer mystery. A recent study by the board found that 73 percent of California drivers change their oil more frequently than their manufacturer recommends, thereby generating more used oil waste.

According to 2005 data from the board, it is estimated that California generates about 153.5 million gallons of waste oil each year; however, only 91 million gallons (or 59 percent) of that waste oil is recycled.

Today's automakers often recommend driving longer distances between oil changes with no harm to the car's engine. This year, Ford Motor Co. announced a recommendation that motorists change the oil every 7,500 miles for 2007 or newer vehicles. In addition, newer cars have a sensor to alert drivers when to change the oil. Drivers are encouraged to check their vehicle owner's manual for oil change guidelines. Recommendations vary based on vehicle model, make, year and normal versus severe driving conditions.

The California Integrated

Waste Management Board promotes reducing waste whenever possible, managing all materials to their highest and best use and protecting public health and safety and the environment. The California Integrated Waste Management Board is one of six boards, departments and offices within the California Environmental Protection Agency.