Oil Facts

  • Since 1000 AD, world population has tripled, while fossil fuel use has grown tenfold.
  • In 1989, almost 60% of the nation's automotive oil was changed by consumers themselves.
  • Americans throw away enough used motor oil every year to fill 120 supertankers.
  • Used oil from a single oil change (approx. one gallon) can ruin a million gallons of fresh water - a year's supply for 50 people.
  • Used oil is insoluble, persistent, slow to degrade, sticks to everything from beach sand to bird feathers, and can contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals that pose a health threat to humans, plants, and animals.
  • An estimated 200 million gallons of used motor oil is improperly disposed of each year in the U.S. by being dumped on the ground, tossed in the trash (ending up in landfills), and poured down storm sewers and drains.
  • Recycling used oil would save the U.S. 1.3 million barrels of oil per day.
  • The world's largest waste oil processing plant is located in East Chicago, Indiana. The facility is to recycle 75 million gallons per year of crankcase and industrial oil and 20 million gallons per year of oily wastewater.
  • One gallon of used oil provides the same 2.5 quarts of high quality lubricating oil as 42 gallons of crude oil.
Image of Used Oil Disposal Practices, 1991

Content on this page provided by Second Time Around - EPA Region 5 and Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Purdue University.