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Name: Cegrubbs
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Question:
Does using synthetic motor oil lessen auto emissions? Is it worth the extra cost? If you were to use it, how often would you change the oil and filter?



Replies:
No, using synthetic motor oil will not reduce your auto emissions. The exhaust gases are gasoline combustion products, not the products of oil break down. Even if your car burns a lot of oil, refined oil and synthetic oil produce the same pollutants when burned. I would have to say that synthetic oil is not worth the extra cost. If I were to use it, however, I would change my oil and filter every 3,000 miles or 3 months (just as I do with refined oil). Your best bet is to make sure whatever oil you use meets your car manufacturer's specifications (listed in your owner's manual) and to change the oil at the intervals above (these are meant to increase engine life not reduce pollution). To reduce pollution your best bet is to take your oil in for reclamation.

Approximately 450 million gallons of used oil are disposed of annually on the ground or waterways, landfilled, or burned in non-energy recovery incinerators (this includes crankcase, transmission, two-cycle/aircraft, and industrial oils). Also, if you change your own oil and have not heard this before you should note that used motor oil may cause skin cancer if repeatedly left in contact with the skin for prolonged periods. This is unlikely unless you handle used oil daily, but you should still wash any used oil off your skin as soon after handling as possible (using only soap and water, not ridiculous scrubbing techniques).

Eric Dallman



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