Cleaning Up The Oil In Parking Spots — Forever

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Through Evolve KY, Kentucky’s nonprofit electric vehicle group, one of the things I do is install Level 2 community EV chargers. In the approximately 7 years we’ve been around, we’ve installed about 125 chargers at 60 locations throughout Kentucky and neighboring states.

They’re in places like parks, farmers’ markets, coffee shops, centers of town — well, you get the idea. This was a program we fashioned from the already successful Adopt a Charger program led by Kitty Adams.

When we install these chargers, often the last thing we do is paint the “Reserved EV Parking” template right on the parking spot. In newly paved spaces, the paint goes on smoothly and quickly, and the graphics and words look sharp. In parking spaces that have seen lots of wear, the mottled surfaces are more challenging to paint, with less-than-perfect results.

One thing we notice in these well-used parking spaces is the blotches from oil and other fluids leaking out from gas and diesel vehicles. According to, oil and other toxic fluids that leak from vehicles and onto driveways and parking spaces eventually are carried by stormwater to area rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams. These small leaks add up quickly and cause big problems for our waterways. A single quart of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of drinking water.

So, it’s interesting to ponder that with the proliferation of electric cars in the years to come, and less use for oil in transportation, aside from the fact that there should be fewer toxic oil spills and accidents in our seas (that damage and kill wildlife and people), there should also be a lot less of these much smaller, localized oil spills.

According to, 70 percent of all oil consumed in the U.S. is used for transportation.

In the future, we can look forward to seeing less of these black splotches on parking spaces as we go about the business of our days. Seeing a pristine parking spot will eventually be the norm rather than the exception. We’ll bid farewell to oil spills big and small.

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Stuart Unger

Stuart Ungar has been interested in how technology can help us live lighter on the Earth for most of his life and remembers going on solar house tours as a kid in the ‘70s with his dad (and having to travel many miles to see each site). Stuart is the co-founder of Evolve KY, Kentucky’s non-profit electric vehicle group and has a brand new podcast — Stu’s EV Universe, which can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other major platforms. Stuart lives with his wife and college-age kids in Louisville, Kentucky.

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