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Re: Synthetic Motor Oil -Reply



To the best of my knowledge,  USEPA has not performed any studies on
the wastes generated from the manufacturing of synthetic oil in the
petrochemical industry.  We [Office of Solid Waste, Hazardous Waste
Identification Division] have focussed our efforts so far on the petroleum
refining industry which is upstream (providing feedstock) of the
petrochemical industry.

My understanding is that synthetic oil is a high-tech polymer blended with
additives that provide corrosion protection and other desireable
properties provided by conventional motor oil. 

If you have any information as to the type of polymer used to
manufacture synthetic oil or the quantity manufactured compared to
conventional oil, please let me know.

>>> Warren J. Weaver <wjw5@psu.edu> 01/05/99 03:59pm >>>
Barbara-

I've been conducting live tests of synthetic motor oil, having used it
since the late '80s. I've used it with two new cars-one that I put 76,000
miles on an a second that I've put 52,000 miles on (and still using)-and
two used ones, all with no problems. In all cases, I change the oil every
10,000 miles (first oil change after 1000 miles when the car is brand
new).
The oil stays cleaner that with conventional oil and provides better
lubricating properties out of the box and presumably for much longer than
conventionally refined oil. I started with Mobil 1 which at the time was 4
times as expensive as standard oil. But I changed the oil one third as
often-every 10,000 miles instead of every 3000. Wasn't a cost cutting
move,
but it saved the hassle and expense of changing the oil as frequently
(when
you consider fewer oil filters, it may have been an economic benefit after
all). I change my own oil so the cost of having Jiffy Lube do it wasn't the
issue.

I switched because the product is technologically superior and because I
was lazy (the mother of invention??). I had been following its
development
in "Popular Science" magazine for a long time prior to its commercial
availability. I also worked for a printing press manufacturer who had
switched their equipment successfully to synthetic oil (drive gear boxes)
and experienced fewer failures and less frequent oil changes (its been
standard faire for that industry for more than 10 years now).

When I began using it, I started with standard change intervals per car
manufacturer specs. I began upping the interval between changes and
found
the above noted advantages. The first car I went to the 10,000 mile
interval on was a 1992 Pontiac Bonneville with the standard 3.8 liter V6.
It worked great. The rest of the car was beat up after 76,000 miles, but
the engine was in great shape despite never having had a tune up (same
spark plugs) and only having 8 oil changes and 8 oil filters. Had I used
standard oil and followed the manufacturers recommendations, I would
have
changed the oil 25 times and replaced the filter 12 times (many folks
change the filter every oil change, though most owners manuals say
every
other). Just think of the waste oil and filters avoided! I'm currently
using the same approach with my Eagle Vision, my Olds Silhouette and
my
daughter's Subaru all with equal success.

Note that you decrease oil change frequency at your own risk. Doing so
voids manufacturers warranties and I don't guarantee the same results I
got. But I did get them and continue to do so. I predict that, eventually,
the auto manufacturers will issue separate oil change recommendations
for
synthetic oil to take advantage of these benefits. Come to think of it,
that's something NPPR and EPA should press the car manufacturers to
do.

Now that Texaco and Castrol each have 100% synthic oils on the market
for
between $2 and 3 per quart, my approach is a sure winner economically,
environmentally, time wise and hassle wise.

There is one environmental aspect that I wonder about however. What
are the
relative environmental issues in the manufacturing of synthetic oil
compared to refining standard oil from petroleum? Can anyone shed some
light on this aspect?

wjw/

>Dear P2Tech,
>
>   I have just been searching the Internet for information on synthetic
>automobile motor oil, or other environmentally friendly motor oil
>substitutes.
>I found lots of promotional material on synthetic motor oil, and, of
>course, it
>all sounds pretty good.  But not one word about drawbacks.
>
>   Is there more balanced information - cons if any as well as pros -  on
>this
>product?  I'd love to use it if it is less harmful to the environment and
>will
>do no harm to my 9-year-old auto.
>
>Thanks and Happy New Year, y'all
>
>Barbara Bloomfield, PADEP, Southeastern Region
>

wjw5@psu.edu

Warren J. Weaver
PENNTAP
227 W. Market St.
York, PA 17401

ph: (717) 848-6669

fax: (717) 854-0087

website: www.penntap.psu.edu