Saving money while Mother Nature picks up the tab.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

Here's an oil recycling idea. My work car burns one quart of oil per week. When I change the oil in my new, family car, I save the oil and pour it into the old, oil burner. Am I "eco-friendly" or what?!

RAY: You're being "eco-friendly," Ken. Eco-NOMICALLY friendly. But not ecologically friendly.

TOM: You're saving yourself 79 cents by using a quart of old oil instead of buying a quart of new oil. But you're not doing the environment any favors.

RAY: If you disposed of that old oil properly, it would have been reused in some manner--as a fuel, or to make trash bags... or breakfast cereal. But instead, you burned it in your old car and spewed it all over the county.

TOM: Now, you can argue that you're being environmentally friendly because you're NOT using a new quart of oil. It takes energy and creates pollution to MAKE a new quart of refined oil. And instead, you're using an old quart that's already in circulation. And I suppose there's some benefit to that.

RAY: But you're still spewing oil all over the place. And if you really wanted to be eco-friendly, you'd fix that old sled of yours and stop burning any or old.

TOM: Right. And just to remind you, we're mailing you one of our brand new bumper stickers, Ken. It says "Be Eco-Friendly: Get a Ring Job."

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