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One afternoon a few months ago, Seattle resident Don Clifton drove his white pickup truck—a 2007 Ford Ranger—to a Jiffy Lube in Ballard. An attendant in coveralls asked him what he wanted. He said he wanted his oil changed. “Do you know how your air filter is doing?” the attendant asked. “Should we top off the coolant? Are any of your lights out? Windshield wipers okay for you?” Clifton said he just wanted his oil changed.

The attendant got in the driver’s seat, slapped a plastic wrapper over the steering wheel—to keep off the motor grease—and eased Clifton’s truck into the garage until the underbelly of its chassis hung above a subterranean mechanics’ pit. Clifton went to a nearby cafe and ate a sandwich. When he returned, the attendants put a little sticker on the inside of his windshield—the same little sticker all 24 million customers of Jiffy Lube get on the inside of their windshields each year—telling him to come back for another oil change after 3,000 miles. Clifton showed me the owner’s manual with the guidelines that Ford—the people who designed and built his engine—suggests for changing the oil: once every 5,000 miles. (That’s relatively low for a new car—some major manufacturers recommend changes at 7,500- or 10,000-mile intervals.)

“See, that’s just wasteful,” he said. Think of how much money, time, and oil Americans could save if they just followed manufacturers’ guidelines instead of Jiffy Lube’s misleading vehicle diagnostics recommendations. A little laziness, he said, could make the world a better place.

Jiffy Lube, which is a subsidiary of Shell Oil, has more than 2,000 franchises and 24 million customers. The US Department of Transportation says the average American driver covers 13,476 miles of pavement a year. Every oil change takes about five quarts of oil. That’s 4.49 oil changes per year x 5 quarts of oil x 24 million customers, which equals 134,760,000 gallons. If Jiffy Lube customers got their oil changed half as often, they could save more than 67,380,000 gallons of motor oil per year.

Read the entire article at: The Stranger

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