Check your Mileage!

California has a concern about a Hazardous Waste called Used Motor Oil!

Oil costs over $5.00 a quart...Use it wisely!

Oil costs over $5.00 a quart…Use it wisely!

What’s the problem?  Too frequent oil changes are causing an issue with too much recycled oil in California.  It’s expensive to treat the used oil some 30% is not recycled and people are listening to their repair shops and changing oil every 3,000 miles. This study says you can wait until you have driven as much as 15,000 miles!

While we still drive our gas guzzling, oil burning relics of the 20th Century, do not be overly concerned about their sensitivity to oil changes.  They will not blow up on you nor will they wear out anytime soon if you follow the following advice concerning changing your oil.

These statistics are scary…

“By volume, used motor oil is one of the largest hazardous waste streams in California: Almost 115 million gallons are sold in the state each year. While about 70 percent is collected after use, it continues to be a serious environmental problem because it is insoluble and contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals. It makes its way into lakes, streams, and oceans via the storm water system and endangers fish, waterfowl, insects, and other aquatic life. In addition, one gallon of used motor oil can foul the taste of 1 million gallons of water.”

So Do the math

If there are 115 Million gallons of oil sold (just in CA alone!) and 30% never gets recycled, then what gets wasted somewhere (drainage ditches, garbage dumps, soil, beaches, lakes, rivers etc) equals 34.5 Million gallons.  That seems to me to be a little crazy.  What impact will these many mini oil spills do to our environment?  Nothing good I would imagine.  Okay, now multiply this times 50 states.

Check out the following blog from the California Government site called Cal Recycle.

Even Click and Clack (Tom and Ray Magliozzi) Agree

If you have ever listened to Car Talk on NPR you are familiar with Tom and Ray giving driving and repair tips.  Their recommendation has always been to change at 5,000 miles!  They also concede they are being conservative.  They also go on to say oil change frequency also depends a lot on how you drive.  Read the following Car Talk post to get the full story.

Tom and Ray Agree!

Tom and Ray Agree!

Now you don’t have to feel bad about being late for your oil change!!!

This Won't Happen!

This Won’t Happen!

Change your oil less often!


About rsingram

Environmental Specialist, Disaster Reservist, Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, Para-Archeologist
This entry was posted in Environment, oil changes, Recycle and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Check your Mileage!

  1. Louise Coulter says:

    Valuable advice. My 2009 VW TDI only requires annual (synthetic) oil change. It is more important to check your oil level often. Sometimes a minor oil leak, left unrepaired can cause serious engine problems.
    The admonition to change oil often is motivated more as a money maker for oil suppliers and oil change services. Per, my son who is in the auto performance business.

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