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Letters to the Editor


Rerefining Truth vs. Propaganda

Dear LubesnGreases,

I am disappointed with your editors in regards to Octobers article, Rethinking Used Oil by Don Kress. It is one thing to report successful commissioning of a plant based on a certain technology and it is entirely another to write an article as an unabashed advertisement of ones technology. Whats worse is that the author makes claims that are completely unfounded.

Claim 1: Rerefining of used oil into recycled base oil has failed as a market-based solution to the used oil problem and has not made significant inroads into the market. Evergreen Oil, Safety Kleen and Newalta are three successful rerefiners in North America. There are several large rerefiners in the European Union, most notably in Germany and Italy. Evergreen Oils base oil has been blended into GF-3 and GF-4 engine oils.

Claim 2: Major oil companies and lubricant blenders have little or no interest in recycled base oil. This claim is laughable. Evergreen Oils Group II base oils are completely sold out, and its customers are eagerly awaiting the now-funded expansion of Evergreens facility in Newark, Calif. Safety Kleen also sells every drop of base oil it produces.

Claim 3: Thermal cracking is becoming a technology of choice. A rather naive statement considering not one plant based on this technology operates in North America and only one in the E.U., as compared to more than 10 rerefining plants in these two developed regions of the world. My company, an affiliate of Evergreen Oil, is now retrofitting a thermal cracking plant in Canada because the process produced an unstable, odorous product. The plant was put into bankruptcy after never having met the product specifications.

Mr. Kress also cites a report by Sofres out of context. The statement about member states not favoring regeneration of used oil is not a conclusion of the study. The study, in fact, concludes that there are no technological bottlenecks for rerefining and that the environment also benefits from rerefining. The Sofres study believes there are economic bottlenecks for rerefining, but also cites commercial realities that are unfair to rerefining, e.g. duty derogation for recycled fuel oils.

These claims are general, vague and aggressive, all at the same time. When you crack used oil into fuels, you are still turning a valuable resource into fuel. We might as well burn it in highly regulated furnaces such as cement kilns and power plants. I fault the editors of LubesnGreases for not carefully separating propaganda from useful, objective information for the benefit of the reader.

Rohit Joshi

Chemical Engineering Partners

Irvine, Calif.

Pushing on Drain Intervals

Dear LubesnGreases,

I am just amazed at the head-in-the-sand attitude about extended oil drains in the November Letters to the Editor. General Motors doesnt have a problem with extended drain intervals. Most dealerships dont like synthetic oil anyway; they want 3,000-mile changes to get the customer back in the dealership.

As a former ASE Certified Chrysler mechanic and machinist, I myself was skeptical of long drain intervals, but after using them for over 30 years and never having any problems I have changed my mind. In the late 1970s I did oil analysis on many types of equipment to prove or disprove whether extended drain claims were real or just hype, and found out they were true. If they can extend oil drains in Europe why cant we do it here? We need a tiered oil rating system in the United States so consumers and mechanics can separate the poor, good, better and best oils.

In the 1960s we used to change spark plugs and points every 10,000 to 20,000 miles; now we go up to 100,000 miles. We need to accept that oil technology is changing the oil change intervals also. GMs Oil Life System is one of the best things that ever happened to let the customer really know what is going on. Technology changes and so must we.

Gary Thieschafer

Council Bluffs, Iowa

Alan Trebs takes on David McFall for not addressing the oil filter longevity of a vehicle using long-drain oils such as Mobil Extended Life and Amsoil, I can’t speak for ExxonMobil, however the Amsoil oil filter is not an over-the-counter filter. It is built internally to last much longer than conventional filters because of the long-drain synthetic oil. Amsoil also states that the oil filter must be changed at 6 months or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs first.

Bill Shirk

Corinna, Maine

Dan Hinchees statement (November Letters) that it is nearly impossible to determine if the oil caused a problem with a motor is completely inaccurate. I have used oil analysis for over 10 years and have never been misled by the findings. In fact there have been several occasions when the sample caught a problem, and the problem was fixed before it caused any significant damage to the engine. None of the problems detected were oil related – one was a slight antifreeze leak, the other was a bad fuel injector. Both were fixed without any harm to the engine.

Even if someone was changing their oil every 3,000 miles and not sampling, the problems mentioned above would have eventually caused a catastrophic engine failure and guess what – it wasnt the fault of the oil.

Mr. Hinchee writes that David McFall is doing a disservice to the motoring public by advocating extended oil change intervals. I have read hundreds of Mr. McFalls articles over the years and I think it is safe to say the guy knows what he is talking about. Mr. Hinchees comments about routinely dealing with vehicles for people who extend their intervals might be true. However, I am sure that these people are using straight conventional oil and dont understand the true value of such companies as ExxonMobil and Amsoil.

Steve Tarini

Columbus, Ohio

Correction: An editor failed to include Dan Hinchees location with his November letter. He is with Auto Super-Service Center and Super-Lube in Tallahassee, Fla.

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