New Bill Sets Standard for Green Motor Oil

Many thanks to Biosynthetic Technologies, a U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce Member, for providing this informational article on California Senate Bill 916

By Gregory D. Blake, Director of Public & Government Relations for Biosynthetic Technologies .

A new state bill SB 916 recently introduced by California Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) offers an innovative approach to protect California’s water resources and public health by requiring a minimum bio-based content standard for motor oil sold in Cali fornia. This legislation is an important step forward for our nation’s green economy.

Used motor oil is the largest volume of hazardous waste generated in California, with approximately 150 million gallons of motor oil purchased every year, generating over 90 million gallons of used oil. However, only about 76 million gallons are actually collected, and only 10-12 million gallons are re-refined into motor oil. Most of the used oil is shipped out of state and burned as fuel, producing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated 14-16 million gallons are illegally dumped, finding its way into California’s rivers, lakes and streams, degrading our drinking water supplies and adding to storm water and coastal pollution.

SB 916 introduces a new “clean technology,” developed in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture, for a bio-based synthetic motor oil.  The bio-based content of biosynthetic motor oil is biodegradable, non-toxic and does not bio-accumulate in marine organisms. The bio-based component can be made from many renewable sources found in plant and animal oils, as well as algae, increasing its environmental value.

As far as the performance of biosynthetic motor oils, there are multiple suppliers with products already on the shelves that are certified by the American Petroleum Institute (API) for use in automobiles and also numerous base oil producers who can provide oil to meet these standards.  SB 916 requires that bio-based motor oil meet or exceed current industry standards set by the American Petroleum Institute Certification and required by automakers to ensure optimum vehicle performance.

Extensive testing has shown that biosynthetic motor oil can reduce the adverse environmental impacts of motor oil, improve water and air quality, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, all while improving vehicle performance, fuel efficiency, and requiring fewer oil changes.

This bill offers new opportunities for growth in the green technology sector, including through the development of new avenues for supply and production of biosynthetic lubricants. They have broad potential application to other environmental problems at our ports as well as addressing global demand.  When one considers that the world consumes almost 12 billion gallons of non-renewable, petroleum-based lubricants each year and nearly 90% enters the environment, the growth potential is impressive.

We hope you will join us by sending a letter in support of California SB 916 to Senator Correa today. Visit our website: to learn more.


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