Department of Energy Issues Report on Management and Beneficial Reuse of Used Lubricating Oil

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy issued a report to Congress including recommendations for increasing the beneficial reuse of used oils and lubricants. Beneficial reuse includes turning waste lubricants like used motor oil into more valuable base oils, fuels, and other commodity products. This report examines the current status of the used oil industry and stakeholder perspectives and provides Congress with updates on market challenges and opportunities both domestically and abroad.

“The Trump Administration is committed to promoting the safety and environmental sustainability of oil and natural gas,” said Deputy Secretary Mark W. Menezes. “This report will help inform federal policies on ways to continue to improve the reuse of used lubricating oil. The goal is to transform a waste into a renewed resource.”

Conserving, collecting, and recycling used oil offers a variety of benefits. These benefits include extending the life of U.S. crude oil resources, reducing the volume of improperly disposed used oil, supporting thousands of domestic direct and indirect jobs, generating tax revenue, and helping provide consumers with a range of product choices, including fuels and other valuable petroleum-derived products.

As automotive and industrial technologies continue to evolve, demand for higher performing lubricants will likely grow. Domestic consumption of lubricating oil is estimated to be 2.47 billion gallons annually. Of this consumed volume, in 2018, more than 1.37 billion gallons of oil were available for possible collection and reuse.

“Collections of these higher quality used motors oils can allow for future efficiencies within the re-refining process and produce higher quality base oils and other products down the value chain,” said Acting Under Secretary of Energy Steven Winberg. “This finding encouraged our team to look for more effective and efficient ways to support the reuse of used oil.”

Following consultation with stakeholders, the Office of Fossil Energy prepared a set of recommendations that support the safe and efficient collection and reuse of used oil through non-regulatory mechanisms. These recommendations include specific focus on: (1) information exchange and outreach; (2) data collection and research; (3) data analysis; and (4) policy development.

Visit the Office of Fossil Energy’s website to download the report.

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