“It is the Responsible Action”

Used Oil Re-Refining

Re-refining used oil restores the chemical composition of the base oil so that it can be used to produce new lubricant products over and over again. Re-refining is an energy efficient and environmentally beneficial method for managing used oil. Instead of burning the used oil, which releases harmful emission into the atmosphere, re-refining conserves the base oil.

Re-Refined Oil Quality

Technological advancements for re-refining used oil since the mid-1990’s, have resulted in superior quality base oils and lubricants in the market today that can meet the most stringent standards for automotive engine oil specifications.

Re-refined base oils meet the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) specifications, and they are equivalent to the performance standards of base oils produced from crude oil.

The International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) have both certified that re-refined motor oil is approved for use by most major auto manufacturers and will not void engine or transmission warranties.

Disposing of Used Oil

The most common end use for the waste oils collected in the U.S. is to utilize the oil as a boiler fuel, which releases harmful emissions, and the possibility of using the used oil again is lost.

Burning used oil as a boiler fuel potentially releases the following into the atmosphere:

  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).
  • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx).
  • Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emissions which are a precursor to acid rain and atmospheric particulates.
  • Chlorinated organics, heavy metals and organic compounds such as PCB’s and dioxins.

Heavy metal emissions from burning used oil can be hundreds of times higher than re-refining it
- From study conducted by the California EPA and University of California at Berkley

10 million barrels of used oil is improperly disposed each year, which is two times the estimated amount of crude oil released during the BP Macondo well blowout in April 2010 in the Gulf Coast.

Re-Refining Benefits

Because of the indefinite lifecycle of re-refining used oil, substantial benefits are achieved with respect to environmental impact, reduced energy required for manufacturing lubricants, and conservation of a non-renewable petroleum resource.

Protects Public Health and the Environment
As an example, NexLube’s re-refining of 24,000,000 gallons per year of used oil at its Tampa plant will reduce air emissions as shown below. The option to re-refine used oil is a much better option to protect the environment.


Emissions Burned in Small Boiler

NexLube Re-Refining

Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) 228 <25
Carbon Monoxide (CO) 60 <1
Sulphur Oxides (SOx) 882 <25
Particulate Matter (PM) 62 <2


Re-refining promotes proper collection of used oil and keeps it from contaminating landfills and soil; out of rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater; and away from the beach, aquatic life and wildlife.

Saves Valuable Energy
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that re-refining used oil to produce base oil requires 50 – 80% less energy than refining crude oil.

Reduces Our Dependency on Imported Oil
Re-Refining used oil rather than extracting additional crude oil from diminishing domestic supplies, or importing additional crude oil from foreign countries, helps conserve the overall oil supply as well as reduces our dependency on foreign oil.

Re-Refined Oil Cycle

Lubricants are typically comprised of 80-90% base oil and 10-20% specialty additives that distinguish the product such as a motor oil, transmission or hydraulic fluid, or industrial process oil. Most all base oils originate from the processing of crude oil. The lubricants eventually become “spent” (think of the oil in your car) and are no longer effective because either the additives have broken down or the lubricant has become contaminated with impurities during its use. However, the base oil retains its original properties and usefulness.

Through the re-refining process, the used oils can be processed to remove the original additives and contaminants acquired through use allowing the base oil to be retained. Once the re-refining process is complete, new chemical additives can be blended back into the base oil to fortify and bring the base oil to the performance standards desired for the new lubricant. This cycle can be repeated indefinitely since there is essentially no degradation in the base oil.



One barrel (42 gallons) of crude oil typically contains 0.5 gallons of base oil. Lubricants are one of the most valuable products made from crude oil. Re-refining one barrel of used oil recovers up to 34 gallons of base oil, and extends the life of a non-renewable natural resource.
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