Is It Illegal To Burn Used Motor Oil: Know Before Getting Fined

Is it illegal to burn used motor oil? The answer is yes, however, in some cases, the answer is no as well. If you maintain your local authority’s rules and regulations regarding burning used motor oil, it is not illegal in some states. It is illegal because it is harmful to the environment and can also cause severe illnesses in humans.

So, it is not always wise to burn used motor oil. However, there are some benefits of burning used oil as well. To know more about the dangers and benefits of burning used oil, check this entire article.

Is It Illegal To Burn Used Motor Oil?

As you already got to know that it is illegal to burn used motor oil because of environmental pollution. However, in some states of the USA, you can burn used motor oil by meeting the conditions set by the Environmental Protection Agency to preserve clean air.

According to the EPA, burning used motor oil can cause cancer and other severe diseases.

In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, burning used oil without the permission of the Allegheny County Health Department is illegal. Businesses in that area that are found doing this without the necessary permission will be told to halt immediately and may also face fines.

If you want to burn used motor oil in Allegheny County, you must perform testing to show that the task of burning the oil won’t release toxic contaminants into the air and complies with federal air quality regulations.

In the Yukon territory of Canada, the Yukon Environmental Regulations Department permits the burning of used motor oil in approved furnaces and space heaters. Also, anyone who wants to burn used motor oil in that territory needs to have an applicable permit.

In the Northwest Territories of Canada, you can burn used motor oil if you obtain an applicable permit and burn it in a permitted receptacle and location. However, if you want to burn used motor oil there, the Chief Environmental Protection Officer must receive registration from you.

Used motor oil burning is prohibited in Southern Ontario, but it is allowed in Northern Ontario.

An expert said regarding the legality of burning used motor oil in the United Kingdom on a discussion forum of MIG Welding,

“Small waste engine oil burners require an Local Authority exemption cert to burn, Large scale burners need EA approval. Any business your collecting from NEEDs a full DOC ticket on collection with amounts carriers no, and transfer site details.

If your collecting any kind of waste for profit or not, that is not your own, you need a waste carriers licence from the LA. Business again having waste oil collected should also have a transfer site no. upon collection. Both waste engine oil, and Used cooking oils are also worth a bit per ltr, All commercial carriers will pay.”

Learn The Dangers of Burning Used Motor Oil

When motor oil is used in transmissions and engines for a long period of time, it can pick up a number of dangerous chemicals and pollutants such as Chromium, lead, Zinc, Bromine, Xylene, Tin and more. These chemicals and pollutants eliminate the chances of the motor oil being used again.

When you burn used motor oil, then significant levels of hazardous materials will be emitted into the environment. It will expose humans, vegetation, and wildlife to harmful substances. Burning used motor oil at low temperatures can produce airborne contaminants that can harm your health by getting into your lungs.

Contaminants created by burning used oil can cause you to lose the ability to fight infection and your lungs to lose their functionality. It can also aggravate and cause respiratory issues and even cause death. In addition, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide are generated by it, which can cause serious adverse respiratory problems.

An expert said regarding the dangers of burning used oil in a discussion forum on the Do It Yourself,

“I personally would not do it because, not only does used motor have nasty heavy metals that will be airborne after burning them, used motor oil also has acid in it (produced by water and impurities like sulfur in the motor fuel and oil). A good reason for regular oil changes by the way. I am sure the acid will corrode the fuel tank, filter, copper line, pump, nozzle line and nozzle over time.”

What Are The Benefits of Burning Used Motor Oil?

Though there are a lot of disadvantages to burning used motor oil, there are some advantages to it as well. These are given below:

Reduces Heating Bills: A huge benefit of burning used oil is replacing other fuel-energy sources. Heating with used motor oil means that the necessity for other heat sources such as natural gas, propane, electricity, etc. will be reduced. As a result, you can save money on heating bills. It will also reduce the demand for other heat sources in the energy markets.

Thus, the strain on power plants, pipelines, as well as shipping routes, and tanker trucks will be reduced. Since natural gas and oil prices continue rising, heating with used motor oil is an excellent option to reduce heating costs. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S., the prices of natural gas are predicted to rise by 28% in the next few years.

Prevents Water Pollution: Despite the fact that water makes up two-thirds of the earth’s total surface, it is still a valuable resource in many places of the world. You rely on pure, fresh water to drink and irrigate the croplands. Unfortunately, enough used motor oil leaks into the United States land and water each year to contaminate three billion people’s access to clean water.

Also, used motor oil is a contaminant that is visible in water and floats as scum on the soil. This oil scum can prevent sunshine and oxygen from reaching the water, which will negatively impact fish and aquatic vegetation. It is capable of killing frogs, fish, and other creatures that breathe from the surface of the water. So, by burning used oil, you can prevent contamination of such precious water resources.

Take a look at the below video to know more about the benefits of burning used motor oil:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it OK to burn used motor oil?

Though the Australian Gov suggests recycling, it is ok to burn used motor oil as long as it doesn’t harm the environment. Just make sure that you are adhering to all rules and regulations of your local government. Even though used motor oil may not be useful for its main purpose, it still has important BTUs that can be used to create energy. Used oil-burning systems have improved in sophistication, strength, and efficiency as technology has advanced.

Can you burn motor oil in a fire pit?

Yes, you can burn motor oil in a fire pit. However, it is very dangerous and you need to take some crucial safety precautions to burn it. If you want to burn used motor oil, then you need to know that it contains carcinogens and other pollutants that are harmful to breathe. So, it is even more high-risk to burn used motor oil in a fire pit and as a result, it is not recommended to do so.

Can I burn motor oil in my furnace?

Yes, you can but it is not a good idea. To burn motor oil in your home’s furnace, you should get it purified from its contaminants. Otherwise, it will easily clog the filter of your furnace and even lead to explosions. Special oil burners are available in the market to burn motor oil, and you need to use them. It is a completely different type of furnace than your home’s heating system burner.


To reduce the rising cost of energy, you can burn used motor oil and use it in your shop, garage, and even your business. It is a cost-effective alternative to other fuel-energy sources like natural gas, propane, electricity, etc.

However, burning used motor oil can cause severe damage to the environment and cause health problems for you as well. So, you need to know the answer to the question “is it illegal to burn used motor oil?” We are hopeful that this article has helped you to know that.

Still, you may have some questions regarding this topic as a human being. Feel free to ask us in the comment box and we will be more than happy to answer them.

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