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illustration: synthetic oilSwitching from Petroleum-Based Motor Oil to Synthetic Oil

Although it is more expensive than petroleum-based lubricating oil, synthetic motor oil offers longer intervals (up to 25,000 miles) between oil changes without compromising engine life. Other advantages include superior temperature resistance, better low-temperature performance, and a lower oil-consumption rate.

When using synthetic oil, adopt the filter type and change schedule recommended by the manufacturer. The interval length between oil changes depends on varying factors, including type of vehicle, daily use, driving conditions, and the synthetic oil manufacturer’s recommendation. Less frequent oil changing can save your business money by reducing labor costs, oil and filter purchasing costs, and the associated disposal or recycling costs for these products.

Instructions for Using the Measurement Tool

The worksheet below is a simple cost-comparison tool where you can plug in your business’s costs and variables to determine whether replacing petroleum-based motor oil with synthetic motor oil will save you money. The current costs and variables presented in the worksheet represent default assumptions for calculation purposes only. If the information varies for your business, simply enter the correct information in the appropriate field.

After completing the worksheet, click on “Calculate the savings!” to see the cost savings of switching to synthetic oil. (Note: If you make subsequent changes to the worksheet, click on “Calculate the savings!” again to recalculate.)



Number of vehicles


Oil changes when using petroleum-based motor oil (per year)1


Oil changes when using synthetic motor oil (per year)


Number of filter changes when using synthetic oil (per year)2


Average vehicle oil capacity (in quarts)


Cost of petroleum-based oil (per gallon)3


Cost of synthetic oil (per gallon)4


Cost per oil filter



Labor rate (per hour)


Labor required to perform an oil and filter change (in minutes)


Cost to recycle oil (per gallon)


Filter disposal cost (per drum)5


  1. Assumes that filter is changed with each oil change.
  2. Due to the negligible amount of time required to change a filter when not changing oil, this labor cost is not factored into the cost analysis. If your business deals with a large number of vehicles, this cost may need to be incorporated.
  3. Cost per gallon decreases when bought in bulk. 
  4. Cost per gallon decreases when bought in bulk. 
  5. Assumes 100 crushed filters per drum. 

calculate the savings
start over

Results: Annual totals and savings


Petroleum based


Labor costs


Oil costs


Filter costs


Oil recycling costs


Filter disposal costs


Total costs



Total savings due to switching from petroleum-based oil to synthetic oil


Oil waste prevented by switching to synthetic oil (in gallons)


Oil filter waste prevented by switching to synthetic oil (in pounds)1


  1. Based on assumption of one pound per used filter. 

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