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A Closer Look E-mail the author

Logan Oil
Chris Kightly • 888-468-4272

In 2004, Chris Kightly saw an opportunity, changed careers, and founded Logan Oil. The company collects reclaimed gasoline from auto dismantlers, auto shredders and other recyclers in 150 cities across the country.

Kightly said he saw the business as a way to do something “green and profitable,” and also as a way to create employment for people.

The dismantlers or recyclers remove the gasoline from the cars and store it in tanks awaiting pickup. To make sure the gasoline in the tanks is clean and useable, the Logan Oil employees test it before they remove it from the tanks, and they reject any gasoline that might have been contaminated during the reclamation process.

The gasoline is then filtered to remove water or sediment that might have been in the cars’ gas tanks. That filtering is done on the trucks that pick up the gasoline, as it goes into the trucks. The clean, filtered gasoline is sold to local non-branded gas stations, to gasoline distributors and companies that can use the gasoline themselves.

Since Kightly’s company operates nationally, he said he has to deal with government regulations on a state-by-state basis. One issue he runs into quite often is the states’ attempts to tax the sale of the fuel he collects and sells.

Kightly said that the fuel is not actually “used” when he acquires it, so it shouldn’t be subject to taxes. He said that once fuel is used in a car, it is burned up and gone, and the fuel taken from the scrapped cars is the same product that came from the gas pumps. Since taxes were paid at the pump, Kightly said there should be no additional taxes paid when he sells that gas to his customers.

So far he has been successful in arguing with the government agencies, which is good for the companies he buys the gasoline from. “We pay good money for the gas,” Kightly said. Not that long ago, those auto dismantlers were paying to have the gasoline picked up.

Kightly said that right now, there are very few companies doing what he does, and that as government regulations become stricter as time goes on, it will become more difficult for new companies to comply with the regulations and get into the business.

However, there is plenty of potential to pick up more gasoline. He said that there are about 14 million cars scrapped each year. On average, those cars have about four gallons of fuel remaining in the gas tank. That means there is a potential 50 million gallons of gasoline that could be reclaimed each year. Right now, Kightly and one other company are picking up about 4 million gallons of gasoline per year.

Some of the remaining fuel is reclaimed for other purposes, but Kightly said that unfortunately “a lot of that gas goes into the ground.” One of the challenges of the business is in “educating the dismantlers” so the gasoline is reclaimed properly and kept clean enough so it can be sold for use in cars, which garners the best price for the dismantlers and puts more gas into cars at better prices for consumers.

Kightly said that he has attended a lot of forums and conferences worldwide, and that in other countries recycling is not an option – it is mandatory. While he wouldn’t like to see the same government regulations in the U.S., he does appreciate the higher level of recycling in those parts of the world.

Meanwhile, Kightly enjoys his role in being inventive when dealing with the municipalities and the government agencies he works with. He also enjoys the challenges of dealing with the transportation issues involved in picking up gasoline all over country and delivering it to customers.

He said that sometimes he thinks of himself of being in the trucking business, and he just happens to be transporting gasoline. Kightly said that an important part of his business is making sure that his trucks arrive at customer locations before their gasoline storage tanks are full.

He explained that once those tanks reach capacity, the dismantlers can’t process any more cars, and that impacts their bottom line. “They don’t have to worry about us being there,” he said, because service is always a priority for his company.