<The extent and effects of automobiles leaking & burning motor oil.
Volume of oil burned and the number of vehicles leaking oil.
2.7 billion gallons of oil are sold annually in the United States. 50%
of this is consumed (burned or leaked from the engine). (Source:
Student and Teacher Guide to Recyling Oil.)
According to this report almost half of cars on the road leak oil.
(Source ?The Costs of Transportation, p25.?)
Taking Its Toll: The Hidden Costs of Sprawl in Washington State.
Patrick Mazza. Eben Fodor.
According to the report ?The Costs of Transportation.? about 46% of
vehicles on U.S. roads leak hazardous fluids, including oil;
transmission, hydraulic and brake fluid; and antifreeze. (American
Automobile Association, Your Driving Costs, 1995 edition prepared by
Between 460 and 600 million gallons of the 1.4 billion gallons of
lubricating oils used in cars are either burned by the cars engine or
lost in drips and leaks, and another 180 million gallons are disposed
of improperly in the ground or into sewers. (Source: Apogee Research.,
The Costs of Transportation: Final Report, Prepared for Conservation
Law Foundation, March 1994).
A UK check on 38,264 vehicles found that 2,864 or 7.48% had oil leaks.
(Source: House of Commons.)
Vehicle inspection reports of 371 cars in Sydney Australia showed that
30% had oil leaks (Source: NRMA.)
Failure of drivers to maintain their vehicles.
A survey by the Car Care council found that many drivers do not keep
their cars well maintained. 38% of cars had low or dirty engine oil.
How oil leaks vary with different makes of vehicle.
A survey of SAAB owners by Brett F. Martin found that 44% report oil leaks.
This survey of SAAB owners by Brett F. Martin found that 56% report
minor oil leaks
This survey of family sedan owners by Westway found that 6% of Toyota
Camry owners and 9% of Ford Taurus owners reported oil leaks.
(Source: surveying The Sedans. Ford, Honda, and Toyota Owners Speak
Out. By Peter Bohr.)
This report details vehicle costs. Table 4 shows the environmental
costs of motor vehicles are 4 cents per vehicle mile. (Source: TDM
Encyclopedia. November 11, 2003.)
The oil leaking from vehicles pollutes waterways resulting in
contaminated drinking water, wildlife habitat damage, and reduced fish
Although roadway runoff usually meets water quality standards, some
pollutants build up in sediments or through the food chain.
Oil leaked from vehicles is carried through storm drains into streams and rivers.
Aquatic life ? fish disappear.
Recreational use of water.
Health - a study in California found that people who swam near storm
drain outfalls were 50% more likely to suffer fever and vomiting than
those who kept their distance.
The local economy impacts ? sports fishing disappears and leads to a
decline in tourism. Dredging costs for harbours and waterways
escalate. Disposing of oil contaminated dredgings presents more
expensive problems to solve for the future.
There needs to be raised awareness of problem associated with oil
pollution. (Source: Stormwater the devastating non point-source
A study by the National Research Council shows that 85 percent of oil
pollutants come from airplanes, recreational boating and runoff from
the land. Oil pollution can seriously damage marine life and
Oil runoff from cars and trucks is increasing in coastal areas where
the population is growing and roads and parking lots are expanding.
More than one half of the land based oil contamination along the North
American coastline occurs between Maine and Virginia, where there are
dense seaside populations, many cities, several refineries, and high
energy use, the report notes. (It?s Not So Slick When Oil Ends Up In
The Sea. Environment News Service. May 28, 2002.)
According to The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, smoking
vehicles contribute to respiratory problems and cancer-risk. Children,
the elderly and those with respiratory diseases are especially at
What to do about oil leaks.
Tips for reducing pollution on the road.
Have vehicles serviced regulary.
Frequently check your parking space for evidence of fluid leaks. If
you notice any leaks have your vehicle serviced.
Never pour used auto fluids into the street, gutter or storm drain.
Drain fluids into a drain pan and dispose of properly. (Source: The
City of Milipas.)
The following advice is given here:
Fix all leaks as soon as possible.
Do not allow vehicles to drip fluids onto street, or into the gutter
or storm drain.
Use plastic tarps and drip pans when your car is leaking, and when you
are working on it.
Empty drip pan regularly, and protect it when it rains.
Use an absorbent such as sawdust or kitty litter for spills. Sweep it
up, place in a plastic garbage bag, and put it in the garbage. Do not
allow absorbent to be washed down into the street, gutter or storm
drain. (Source: City of San Jose. Environmental services.)
Advice from City of Springfield, Department of Public Works:
Sweep driveways instead of hosing off.
Regularly inspect your vehicles for oil leaks.
16 times more runoff is produced by a one acre parking lot than a one acre meadow.
An oil slick of 2 acres is created by a person dumping a quart of oil
in a storm drain.
95% of respondents were willing to fix automobile leaks promptly and
properly dispose of fluid after changing oil.
77% were willing to sweep patios and sidewalks instead of hosing them.
(Source: National Geographic Study.)
Dallas City Hall offers advice on combating oil pollution and also
urges people to report water polluters.
Smoke from a vehicle exhaust is often caused by oil being burned.
Schemes have been introduced to allow people to report smoking
vehicles. The owners are contacted and advised to get their vehicles
repaired. This site describes the initiative in Southland.
In Iowa the owner of a smoking vehicle is sent informative materials
to assist and urge them to make an educated decision about the
benefits of vehicle care and to voluntarily take action. According to
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, one smoking vehicle creates
as much pollution as 30 properly functioning cars.
<Additional links: >
<Pollution statistics from World Carfree Network.>
<Oil removal with organoclay>
<"vehicles had oil leaks">
<"percent of vehicles on us roads leak">
<"car care council" survey>
<"costs of transportation" "automobile association">
<"environmental impact" "oil leaks" car>
<"cars leak oil">
<"vehicles leak oil">
<Hope this helps.>