Maine Tacks Cleanup Fee on Oil Changes


A Maine state law that went into effect Oct. 1 imposes a fee of $1 to $3, depending on gross vehicle weight, on each motor oil change as part of an effort by the state legislature topay for cleanup of four former waste-oil sites that operated from 1965 to 1980.

The sites are in Plymouth, Ellsworth, Casco and Presque Island, Maine. The Plymouth site was a federal Superfund Site. Known as the Portland/Bangor Waste Oil Services sites, they were contaminated when oil and solvents leaked into the surrounding ground.

The law imposes a $1 fee on each oil change on a vehicle with a gross weight of under 10,000 pounds, $2 on a vehicle with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds to 25,999 pounds, and $3 on a vehicle with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or more. The same requirements apply to any person that owns a fleet of vehicles – three or more vehicles registered to the same person – and performs oil changes on the vehicles, for each oil change on each vehicle. Premiums must be paid monthly to the state tax assessor.

Kevin King, operations manager for Westbrook, Maine-based fast lube Prompto Inc., explained that support for the fee came from the Maine Automobile Dealers Association in conjunction with the Finance Authority of Maine. I think what happened to the general public as well as to our industry was we were not really made aware of it in advance, King told Lube Report. I think we missed those hearings, and I think the public missed the hearings because it was downplayed quite a bit. I wish I had known about it – we wouldve opposed it quite heavily.

Despite that, King said he doesnt expect the fee to have a big impact on Prompto, which has 16 locations in Maine. What it means for us is the average oil change will go up from $20 to $21, he said. We have up some signs to make customers aware. Id say probably 50 percent of customers saw news reports about it. He said accommodating the $1 fee can also represent some bookkeeping problems, especially with certain software applications that need to accommodate the change.

According to EPA records, the Plymouth site is a 17-acre parcel which had a waste oil facility on a two-acre portion of the site. The facility operated from 1965 to 1980 in affiliation with Portland/Bangor Waste Oil Co. Waste oil, delivered by the companys tank trucks, was stored in eight 1,000 to 20,000 gallon storage tanks.

The company collected, transported and deposited unknown quantities of waste oil from military bases, auto dealerships, municipalities, local garages, bulk transportation companies, industries and utility companies. Oil was stored in tanks, and the company then sold the lighter oil for fuel and the heavier oils for dust control on dirt roads. EPA said the companys records indicate the waste stored on the site consisted predominantly of used motor oils and industrial lubricating oils. In 1980, Portland/Bangor Waste Oil ceased operations, cut up the tanks on site and sold them to a scrap metal dealer.

Related Topics

Market Topics