Used motor oil has a wide variety of uses from powering ships at sea to making asphalt for paving new roads to generating electricity in power plants around the world. It can also be re-refined into “new” motor oil again. Depending on the size of the operation, just a few years ago many shops were pulling in an extra $1,200 to $1,500 a month, or so, from the sale of used oil. Now, some operations report paying $1 or more per gallon for used oil to be disposed of. Unlike other industries where operators can just throw away their waste products when recycling them becomes no longer economically viable, oil and lube shops are bound by law — and the good of the environment — to recycle used oil, no matter the cost. Used oil should always be viewed as a potential liability and not as a commodity. Whatever the cost of recycling, the alternative liability costs of improper handling and disposal are far worse. No one wants to end up with fines, legal fees, and the costs of restitution.
Currently, the price of a barrel of oil has held just below $50/barrel. The expected economic forecast for petroleum is not good for the next year: it's expected to go even lower. Brent crude is still up more than 60 percent from a 12-year low near $27 in January, but the rally has faultered on signs that the supply glut will persist and as economic jitters raised concern about the strength of oil demand. Record crude output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, a glut of refined products and signs of more drilling activity in the United States in the face of low oil prices have added to concern about excess supply.