According to the American Petroleum Institute, more than 50 percent of all motorists change the oil in their vehicles themselves. One of the most important steps when changing your vehicle’s engine oil is the proper disposal of the used oil that you drained from your vehicle. If you pour used motor oil on the ground, into a storm drain or throw it in your trash can (even in a sealed container), you are improperly disposing of your used motor oil. According to the U.S. EPA, more than 40 percent of our nation’s oil pollution comes from the improper disposal of used motor oil. Used motor oil is highly toxic to the environment, and it is of the utmost importance that it is disposed of in a safe fashion. One gallon of motor oil can:
- Create an oil slick on surface water up to eight acres in size
- Contaminate one million gallons of freshwater (one year’s supply of water for 50 people)
- Render a four acre area of soil unusable for planting for decades
If you change your vehicle’s oil, then you should transfer the used oil to a sealed container and consult your local garage about options for safe disposal. For more information on how vehicles impact water quality, stop by the MSD booth at the St. Louis Auto Show. The show is January 27-30, 2011, and our booth is located in the Eco City section.