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Old 03-16-2011, 08:17 AM   #1
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Default Valvoline Says New Motor Oil is Big Step in Reducing Petroleum Use

Recycled motor oil isn't new - you can buy it from various bulk suppliers and several companies sell canned or bottled lubricants that contains varying amounts of recycled oil.

But the major motor oil producers have tended to shy away from mixes with big doses of recycled oil, fearful that consumers would think of the product as inferior to their regular brands.

Valvoline, one of the nation's best-selling lubricants producers, is out to change that and today is announcing the launch of a new premium motor oil that embraces its recycled content.

The oil, Valvoline NextGen, contains 50 percent recycled motor oil and Valvoline is stocking it - in bright green one-quart containers - on retailer's shelves across the country at the same price as and right next to the white containers of its 100 percent virgin oil.

Just As Good
While almost all used motor oil is recycled these day, most of it is burned up as fuel oil. Only about 10 percent is retained for re-refining and reuse as engine lubricant, said Blair Boggs, Valvoline's vice president for global brands.

"But oil doesn't wear out or break down, it's the additives that do that. When you re-refine it and take the additives out, the result is oil that's every bit as good as virgin oil."

Valvoline takes the recycled oil from re-refiners and does its own magic by blending it with an equal amount of virgin oil and enriching the mix with a proprietary blend of additives.

By April, NextGen also will start being available at Valvoline-owned oil change stations, with the national roll-out to be completed by summer.

'In Our DNA'
The company is making the move in a bid to capture consumers who want to help reduce oil consumption for political or environmental reasons and, no doubt, to improve its bottom line as well.

There's also the matter of pride, said Boggs.
Valvoline, a unit of chemicals giant Ashland Inc. and the number two oil brand in the country in retail sales, has led the industry in innovation, missing a big one only once, he said - when the first synthetic motor oil was introduced in 1974 by competitor Mobil (now ExxonMobil).
"Innovation is important to us, we have to keep innovating to keep our leadership," Boggs said. NextGen is Valvoline's next big thing.
The corporate DNA is also in play, he said.

"We're an independent company, not owned by any of the major oil producers, and in addition to helping reduce our dependence on oil, to reduce the need for more oil drilling, there's a cultural aspect. Independence is important to our corporate fabric and this helps underline it."

Adios, Green Premium
NextGen, said Boggs, will be priced in retail outlets the same as Valvoline motor oils made from virgin oil base, a strategy that will help tell consumers that as far as the company is concerned, it is the same in quality and value.

It also rids the oil of the "green premium" stigma that often is attached to products that are friendlier to the environment but cost more because they aren't made in the huge quantities that result in economy-of-scale savings for mainstream consumer brands.

In Valvoline Instant Oil change centers, Boggs said, there will be a $5 surcharge for using NextGen, to help shop owners recover the higher cost of packaging and shipping the product in smaller batches than the bulk deliveries of popular conventional grades. But Valvoline is working on plans for some type of program to give that $5 back to consumers who continue using the 50-50 blend at the oil change centers, he added.
Although the company began working on NextGen and planned the product launch long before the present upward spiral in gasoline prices and political turmoil in the Middle East put oil prices and availability back in the national spotlight, it is likely Valvoline will benefit from the coincidental timing.

Pursuing Change
Boggs says the country could also benefit.
American's use about 800 million gallons of motor oil a year, he said, If demand for recycled motor oil grows and 50-50 blends like NextGen became the norm, that's up to 400 million gallons that can keep cycling through re-refiners and won't have to come out of the ground.
Boggs said that the company's hope is that by offering NextGen as an equal to conventional motor oil and by working to educate consumers about the benefits of using recycled oil (a consumer campaign will launch in April, featuring Speed Channel personality and American Top Gear host Rutledge Wood as spokesman)it will "be a force for change in the industry."
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:33 AM   #2
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If it's as good as virgin oil, why not sell it straight up 100% instead of mixing it 50/50? Especially if you're trying to proclaim it an environmentally friendly choice.

NextGen, said Boggs, will be priced in retail outlets the same as Valvoline motor oils made from virgin oil base, a strategy that will help tell consumers that as far as the company is concerned, it is the same in quality and value.
Probably because it's actually more costly to produce. As with so much green technology, it seems.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:45 AM   #3
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I wouldn't think it is more expensive. How much does a gallon of fuel oil cost? If the recycled and refined product is used as heating oil, I would start there. I say they are making quite a profit. Good for them.

50/50 is marketing, too much change scares people. Give it 5 years or so and they will be marketing 100%.


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Old 03-16-2011, 10:37 AM   #4
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I do wonder about the production cost vs Virgin.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:27 PM   #5
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I wonder what the quality will be like. Canadian Tire had a similar product many years ago but the quality was only in line with their lowest-level conventional oil.

While almost all used motor oil is recycled these day, most of it is burned up as fuel oil.
OK, so if the used motor oil is no longer used as fuel oil, something else has to be substituted. I'm not seeing any net benefit.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:40 PM   #6
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Recycling the oil won't save anywhere near as much oil as making better oils that allow us to raise mpg. Not much oil goes toward creating lubricants:

Energy Use By vehicle type:

Lubricants are only part of the Other slice...

But having said that, if it can be recycled that would certainly be better than the landfil.

Last edited by rexster; 03-16-2011 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:23 PM   #7
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