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Eagle County cleans oil, makes it last longer

Matt Terrell
mterrell@vaildaily.com
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” An ecoTransit bus in Eagle County, Colorado needs an oil change about once a month ” about 40 quarts a pop.

Multiply that by 33 buses, and you’re using a lot of oil. Gusty Kanakis, fleet manager for the county, is looking to cut that in half. He’s testing a “secondary oil filtration system” for diesel engines that could dramatically cut ecoTransit’s oil use, hopefully saving a lot of money and helping out the environment, he said.

“Anytime you’re not using oil, or having to dispose of it, it’s good for the environment,” Kanakis said.



The main reason you change oil so often is that it gets dirty, said Allen Hundley, a representative with the Kleenoil company, which manufactures bypass oil filters. If the oil is cleaned more thoroughly, it can last a lot longer, he said.

“There are so many additives in today’s oil, and it’s so well made, it can last a long time,” Hundley said.



A secondary filtration system works with an engine’s normal oil filter, catches smaller particles and should reduce the number of times you have to change oil.

Kanakis is testing the system on two buses that run the exact same routes ” one has the filtration system, the other doesn’t. The oil is regularly checked to make sure it hasn’t broken down and is still safe to use. The one with the second filter has needed an oil change only half as many times as the other.

“We’ve only been doing it for six months, and the results have been pretty good,” Kanakis said.



Vail Honeywagon just began testing a secondary oil filtration system this week on one of its newer trucks. Mike Gibas, fleet and facility manager, said they don’t have any hard data yet on how it’s working, but is pretty excited about it.

“The savings on oil should be phenomenal ” but you can’t really put a price on being green. We want to take care of this place for our kids,” Gibas said.

The county is also trying the filters out on some equipment at the landfill. A filter like this would cost around $500, and after a full test run, they’ll decide if the savings will be worth the up-front costs.

“We’re going to try this out for a year, see what the return on our investment would be,” Kanakis said.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.


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