[Editor’s Note: We are all looking for greener ways of living. As much as we value this, we still drive our cars up and down the roads – and those cars need motor oil to run. So, what happens to all of that motor oil when you get your oil changed? It’s reused and turned into lubricants and other items. But there are other ways you can use it around the home and we would like to offer an “open invite,” especially for those who are mechanics or heating experts to share ideas on how to better use this. Please post your comments and suggestions to share with the rest of us!]
Used motor oil is a big business. It’s the kind of business that government loves. The quantities usually are taken out of your car or truck periodically. They’re usually an amount the average person doesn’t want to fool with. Then there’s the law: that state you must take the oil to a facility that is able to handle it when getting rid of it. As all of these places usually collect the oil, it’s akin to car insurance: you have to have such a place. Usually, John and Mary Citizen just take the oil to the friendly guy at the gas station or auto parts store. Thanks, friendly guy!
Here are some stats for you
One (1) gallon of used oil provides 2.5 quarts of lubricating oil after it is re-refined and that 2.5 quarts. This is what 42 gallons of crude oil would produce when refined. Hmmm! One gallon of used as opposed to 42 gallons of crude…for a little more than 50% recovery?
Metals are recycled out of the oil. Ethylene glycol (that’s antifreeze) is also produced from recycling used motor oil and resold as recycled antifreeze.
Get paid for it
There are places you can find that will pay you for it, but you have to find them. There are going to be different rates for different companies in varied locations, but one place in Texas pays 50 cents/gallon of used motor oil with a minimum of 250 gallons for them to come and pick up for collection.
Also, pay no attention to the naysayers: if they can’t do it themselves, they’ll blame everyone around them for their situation and say it’s impossible…or they’ll just say it can’t be done. If you don’t have the space to store the oil, why not pool your oil in a tank with another family or two who has space? Then everyone splits the proceeds when the time of collection comes.
Heat your home
There are also heaters (large-scale, and space heaters) that will burn used motor oil. To be sure, they’re a little pricey, but you may just be able to swing a purchase of one on e-bay or come up with the cash for a good one. There is a Mother Earth News oil heater that was improved by a guy; the website offers plans for one for purchase and some parameters on a simpler model that can be constructed from an abandoned water heater.
This video has some interesting uses for used motor oil that can be applied to garden items and lubricating rusty tools.
I’m sure there are a number of different uses for the used oil. I have filtered some of it with cloth and burned the used oil in a lamp (similar to this one), but it was more for curiosity. Thing is, though, after the “S” hits the fan, that oil may have more than one use. We’d love to hear whatever your experiences have been with this and welcome any comments and suggestions to use that used oil. Hope to hear from you soon! JJ out!
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.
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