N.C. Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance
Re-refined Oil

Did You Know…

Refining used oil is an energy efficient and environmentally beneficial process. During the process, the contaminants within the used oil are removed. Lubricating additives that were depleted during use are added back into the oil.

Modern re-refining processes have evolved considerably from methods used even as recently as 20 years ago. Methods used back then could not always remove the impurities. This resulted in the misconception that all re-refined oils are inferior to virgin oils. The results of research studies conducted comparing re-refined and virgin oils have consistently indicated that re-refined oils performed as well or better than virgin oils. And the price for re-refined oil is very competitive with that for virgin oil.

Unlike some products, oil is not “used up,” nor does it wear out. It does gather impurities during its use in an engine. By removing these impurities, re-refining helps extend the life of the original oil many times over. In fact, re-refining takes only one-third the energy used in obtaining the virgin oil from the crude stock. Moreover, it takes just one gallon of used oil, compared with 42 gallons of crude oil, to produce the same 2.5 quarts of lubricating oil. As such, it is an excellent way to conserve virgin, nonrenewable petroleum resources without compromising quality or increasing spending. It also helps to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. As a renewable resource, re-refined oil represents a more environmentally responsible choice. 

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