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How to Go Green with Your Next Oil Change: Featuring Mike's Automotive Services

It's never fun when your car breaks down. And finding a good mechanic can be difficult without having a friend, neighbor or coworker's recommendation. That's when qualifications such as being an AAA Approved Auto Repair facility with a 99% customer satisfaction rating and Angie's List Super Service Award Winner for nine years in a row might lead you to Mike's Automotive Services in Somerville, Mass.

Not only was Mike's the first repair shop in Massachusetts to win Angie's List Super Service Award, but it was the first facility in Somerville to offer an eco-friendly oil change. "We were excited to bring the green oil change to Somerville," said Mike Pedersen, the owner. "The automotive industry is inherently one that pollutes. It feels good to do something about that."

Mike's Automotive Services at 1 Union Square in Somervile, Mass.

Mike uses EcoPower, a synthetic blend of re-refined motor oil (recycled and refined from reclaimed oil), for his green oil changes. One of the advantages is that it takes 85 percent less energy to produce EcoPower than it takes to produce conventional motor oils made from crude.

"It meets all of the manufacturers' recommendations regardless of what kind of car you have. If your car takes conventional motor oil, you can use it," said Mark Pedersen, Mike's son and marketing consultant. "It's a synthetic blend so it actually offers you more protection than regular oil. It's a bargain because it's not only a green option, but you're actually protecting your engine even more."

Green oil changes result in 99.5 percent fewer heavy metal emissions and 85 percent fewer greenhouse gases than if used motor oil were used for fuel, according to the "Green Oil Change" page on Mike's website.

A diagram of the closed-loop process involved with a green oil change.

How much does a green oil change cost? Only $5 more than the price of a regular oil change (which uses regular oil not a more expensive synthetic or synthetic blend). Mike's Automotive has been offering them since 2010 as part of its commitment to being the greenest auto repair shop in greater Boston.

"He basically tries to make it a community resource as well because he should charge a lot more than he does," said Mark. "We tried to create a sustainable option that everyday people can actually afford."

Along with affordability, Mike's offers flexibility with a while-you-wait option that means customers don't need to make an appointment in advance. They can take advantage of a modern waiting area with Wi-Fi access, a business center and computer station, flat-screen TV, and complimentary snacks and beverages.

Mike's customers have access to a business center, Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV and complementary snacks in the waiting room.

"We've had a positive response but we still hope more and more people choose it because it's not that much of an increase [in price] and the impact could be great," said Mark. The auto shop also recycles all vehicle wastes, tires, led batteries and any similar items that can affect the environment.

Mike's commitment to sustainability fuels his ongoing charitable work with Groundwork Somerville, a youth-centered environmental nonprofit. In addition, his business supports local organizations, including offering a discount for customers who participated in a recent food drive to benefit the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

Mike's Automotive Shop opened in Cambridge in 1980 and moved to its current, bigger location in Somerville in 1987. You can find out more about Mike's here.

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