|At A Glance|
|Benefits of using re-refined and recycled oil include:
Maximizing oil life and quality not only offers fleets potential cost savings, but also helps lower an operation's environmental footprint. From using recycled or re-refined oil, to conducting oil analyses, to using innovative oil filters, all fleets should revisit their oil initiatives at least annually.
Government Fleet magazine recently talked with a few industry experts about why it's time for fleet operations to revisit their oil programs.
Recycled vs. Re-refined Oil: What's the Difference?
Recycled oil is reusing oil for various uses including re-refining and burning, while re-refined oil is using the oil as a lubricant.
The benefits of using re-refined oil go far beyond engine lubrication. Because crude oil is a nonrenewable resource, using renewed oil prevents waste, reduces environmental impact, extends maintenance cycles, saves time and money, and reduces reliance on foreign oil, according to advocates.
While re-refined oil has gone through the refining process a second time and can be used as vehicle motor oil again, used dirty oil can no longer perform its original lubrication job.
It takes one gallon of used motor oil to create up to 3 quarts of re-refined oil, according to some companies. And if all motor oil in the United States was re-refined, there would be enough re-refined oil to maintain about 8 million vehicles per year.
Hector Barragan, Smart Oil sales coordinator of Rosemead Oil, focuses on the company's marketing and sales efforts and is an expert on the merits of using recycled and re-refined oil, as well as oil analysis. The Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based company, which was established in 1952, has marketed re-refined oil for more than 25 years and operates with a total tank storage capacity of 400,000 gallons.
According to Barragan, now is the perfect time to stop drilling oil and instead use renewable oil. "By doing this, operations can cut their carbon footprint by 50 percent," he said, noting that re-refined oils are less expensive.
Rosemead Oil currently works with fleets in California in an effort to get them certified as a green fleet with the state. The company also provides oil analysis services. Barragan said his company is currently working with cities to help them transition to using renewable oil.
"The cities are the ones that are out there, the most visible," he said. "Why not start with them, help them, and then have them help educate others on renewable oil?"
According to Barragan, a potential partnership is in the works with Cerritos College, which operates a mechanics program. Rosemead Oil is working out details to give the college free renewable oil and education on the oil so that graduates from the mechanics program can then move into a position with knowledge of renewable oils.
While most fleets want to be green or help out the environment, many don't do that through their current oil initiatives, and they don't know the next step to take to get there, according to Barragan.
"We find that no one really knows what the next step is," he said. "We're really in the stage of education about recycled and re-refined oil right now."
One way of educating fleets is to offer renewable oil samples and analysis. Barragan said that once management sees the positive results, they're usually ready to move forward. The biggest challenge surrounding the re-refined versus traditional oil debate is mindset.
"Some managers think re-refined oil is going to be bad for their engines, but we stand behind the product 110 percent," Barragan said.
The Time Has Come for Green Oil Alternatives
According to Curt Knapp, vice president - Oil Re-refining Sales and Marketing for Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc., there is a big difference between "recycled" and "re-refined" oil.
"Recycled oil includes recovery of oil and reusing it for any value, including re-refining and burning it as a fuel (the two main uses)," he said. "Re-refining is refining the used oil again to reuse as a lubricant."
Knapp pointed out that re-refined oil can provide superior performance and protection for valuable assets. In fact, after an independent firm conducted field engine tests pitting two top-selling brands against Safety-Kleen's new re-refined product EcoPower, the re-refined oil proved either as good or better on all key measures, Knapp said.
"Recycling/re-refining conserves valuable, non-renewable resources; it takes far less energy to re-refine the lubricant from used oil compared to crude, and when you reuse motor oil instead of burning it for a one-time energy use, there is substantial reduction in greenhouse gases associated with those used oil gallons," Knapp said.
Since most fleets are looking to reduce the impact their fleets have on the environment, using re-refined oil is a no-brainer, he added.
Safety-Kleen has supplied high-quality engine oils to the U.S. military; other federal, state, and municipal agency fleets; and many transit authority fleets for two decades. The company's re-refined oils have been used in vehicles under some of the most demanding conditions imaginable, and there has never been an oil-related failure, Knapp said.
"The time has finally come for a high-quality, truly green alternative in the engine oil category," he said.[PAGEBREAK]
Portable Oil Change Systems & Filtration Systems Offer Advantages
Operating on-site oil change machines can also enable fleets to save time, lower costs, and meet sustainability requirements. And according to Joseph Shupe, president of CAP Oil Change Systems, protecting the environment while maintaining fleet maintenance efficiency is easier than ever with today's advanced technology.
"We believe in utilizing modern methods that will help fleets maximize the time between oil changes and keep maintenance costs as low as possible and fleets running efficiently, which will help in conserving a nonrenewable resource," Shupe said. "By being proactive and instituting measures to handle waste oil properly, we can ensure a healthier planet in the years to come."
Oil change and fluid handling systems have come a long way, thanks to quickly advancing technology. According to Shupe, his company's system has directly saved fleets time and money by reducing the time it takes to change engine oil.
"Our equipment extracts the used oil in a fraction of the time when compared to conventional oil changes," he said. "And no oil ever leaves the system to contaminate the environment, which keeps personnel safe."
This type of oil change not only helps fleets maintain their green standing, but it keeps oils clean and safe.
The use of innovative oil filters and filtration systems should also be a part of any fleet program, according to Kevin Kroger, president and COO of Puradyn Filter Technologies Inc.
"The key factor is safely extending oil intervals," Kroger said. "If done safely, fleets can extend both oil and engine life."
The company's puraDYN Bypass Oil Filtration System continuously filters lubricating oil by reducing solid contaminants to less than one micron, as well as removing liquid contaminants. This helps maintain the oil's viscosity and dramatically extends oil drain intervals.
"Our system helps to alleviate the amount of waste oil generated in fleets," Kroger said.
For those fleets looking to safely extend oil drain interval, Kroger advises that they address keeping solid containments to a minimum; remove any water or gaseous contamination from oil; and replenish base additives in oil, which maintains the oil's chemical balance and provides viscosity enhancement.
"We can reduce our oil dependency significantly if people are willing to look for alternative solutions," Kroger said.
Just How Good is the Oil?
PurePower Incorporated's Kelly Tidwell, vice president and co-founder, also stressed the importance of using proper oil filters and running an oil analysis program. Tidwell manages the company's product development.
"Everyone should be operating with some sort of oil analysis program if they want to save time and money," he said. "You won't know what's going on in the engine unless you do. After conducting an oil analysis, you'd be amazed at how bad the oil actually is at 5,000 miles. And then if you're trying to hit 12,000 miles under bad conditions, engine damage might occur."
Tidwell pointed out that a simple $30 oil sample analysis could save a fleet thousands of dollars later. In fact, PurePower currently works with more than a dozen city fleets on oil analysis, which always results in both time and cost savings to the cities, he said.
The bottom line on oil usage, according to Tidwell: knowing what's in the oil.
"I would do an oil analysis for every other load of oil," he advised. "It only takes a few minutes to do a sample test that includes a full metal spectrum test and a total base number and total acid number. This is the only way to find out how good the oil really is."
PurePower offers cleanable oil and fuel filters for fleets that are serious about going green. Government fleets using the filters have reported 10 million trouble-free miles, according to the company. Filter benefits cited include direct replacement, improved horsepower, extended oil drain intervals, cooler operating temperatures, and improved particle removal (up to 90 percent).
- Hector Barragan, Smart Oil sales coordinator, Rosemead Oil. Website: www.rosemeadoil.com
- Curt Knapp, vice president - Oil Re-refining Sales and Marketing, Safety Kleen Systems. Website: www.safety-kleen.com
- Kevin Kroger, president and COO, Puradyn Filter Technologies. Website: www.puradyn.com
- Joseph Shupe, president, CAP Oil Change Systems. Website: www.oilchangesystems.com
- Kelly Tidwell, VP and co-founder, PurePower Inc. Website: www.gopurepower.com