General Motors, the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) and the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) have announced they’re joining forces to encourage drivers to follow vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations on oil changes.
And for millions of GM vehicles, that could be mean oil changes with much longer durations than decades-old standard of every 3,000 miles.
General Motors will support public outreach efforts by the Cal/EPA and the CIWMB to help motorists understand how frequently they need to change their engine oil, and the proper methods of doing so.
The traditional 3,000-mile oil change recommendation was based on past engine and oil technologies.
Today’s engines are built to strict tolerances using advanced technology, reducing or eliminating contaminants that might enter the engine. In-vehicle technologies like the GM Oil Life System can also reduce the frequency between oil changes by determining each engine’s oil “life.”
“Driving conditions vary from one driver to another,” said Peter Lord, executive director of GM Service Operations. “The GM Oil Life System is a sophisticated technology that determines the ideal time to change your oil. A driver whose fuel tank is still half full wouldn’t empty the tank just to refill it. This same logic applies to oil changes. We should not waste motor oil that still has life.”
The American Petroleum Institute states that more than 1 billion gallons of motor oil are sold each year in the U.S. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 185 million gallons of used motor oil are improperly disposed of each year – dumped into the ground, tossed into the trash, or poured down the drain.
According to research conducted for the state of California, the need to reduce waste oil is significant. “Today California generates more than 150 million gallons of used oil. If that oil isn’t recycled it can find its way into our lakes, streams and oceans,” said CIWMB Chair Margo Reid Brown. “And just one gallon of oil can contaminate a million gallons of drinking water.”
While motorists cannot solve this problem on their own, they can help prevent the unnecessary use of motor oil in the first place by following their automaker’s recommendations for oil change intervals. For drivers of GM vehicles equipped with the GM Oil Life System, your car or truck can tell you when it’s time to change the oil.
The GM Oil Life System can extend oil change intervals significantly compared to the former 3,000 mile recommendation depending on the vehicle/engine combination and other factors. The system is based on a sophisticated algorithm that measures key engine functions to determine the ideal time for an oil change. Because people drive differently, and under different operating conditions, the rate of oil breakdown will vary from vehicle to vehicle.
In California alone, more than 2.5 million GM vehicles are equipped with the GM Oil Life System.
Equipped with the GM Oil Life System, the average GM vehicle typically needs oil changes half as often as the 3,000 mile recommendation. Based on driving 15,000 miles per year, this could mean between two and three less oil changes annually. If used as intended by all drivers of GM vehicles equipped with the system in the state of California, that would equal more than 8 million fewer gallons of motor oil would be consumed annually, compared to a 3,000 mile interval.
Motorists should check their owner’s manual for their specific oil change and waste oil recycling recommendations.
Press Release courtesy of General Motors Corp.