We can all probably agree that saving the earth is a good thing. Of course, giving up showers if you live in Alabama, or biking to work in January if you live in Maine probably aren't the best ideas. And does the stuff like switching off the light when you are going to be out of the room for 15 minutes really make that much of a difference anyway?

But what if there was a way to help the environment while improving your racing program? A company called PurePower may have a product that can do exactly that. PurePower is new to racing, but it has been producing a reusable oil filter for years that's popular among municipalities, the military, and companies running large trucking fleets. And now it has filters designed to work well with small-block Ford and Chevrolet engines.

We recently had the opportunity to lay our hands on some of the PurePower filters, and they look like serious pieces of engineering. The main body of the filter is constructed completely from billet aluminum, and the filter media is a high-grade stainless steel mesh. The design works on the same concepts as a standard oil filter, except the mesh is supposed to do a better job filtering out smaller particles. It also flows a higher volume of oil and can be cleaned and reused virtually an unlimited number of times. Oh, and it's all made in the USA; that's always a plus in our book.

The stainless steel screen is folded accordion-style into a cylinder and looks, at first glance, a lot like standard paper or cellulose filter media. But by using wire mesh, PurePower says it's able to limit the hole size to 22 microns while also allowing a high rate of flow. In fact, the filter is rated at 20 gallons per minute.

A high rate of flow might not seem like a big deal at first, but for racers it really is. Whenever any filter can't process all the oil being sent to it, it opens a bypass valve and routes the oil around the filter media. The bypass valve is there to keep excess oil pressure from damaging the filter, but it also means that whenever the valve is actuated dirty oil is being recirculated to your engine. The most likely times for this to happen are when the engine is first started and the oil is still cold and when the engine is pegged on the redline (going down the straights) and the oil pressure is the highest. Either way, it's not a good thing.

However, because the PurePower filter flows at such a high rate, its bypass valve engages much later than a standard filter, which is a good thing.

The smaller 22-micron openings should also do a better job cleaning the oil. PurePower's Rob Aquilina showed us project studies where truck fleets had increased the oil change intervals by as much as three times. The improved ability of the PurePower filter had kept the oil from deteriorating, allowing the increased run time. As a racer, you probably won't go extra races without changing your oil, but it could be quite nice in your tow vehicle, and it's always comforting to know that you're getting maximum protection from your filter.

Another advantage of the wire screen filter is the fact that it—unlike standard oil filters—is reusable. You can clean the filter screen any number of ways. Aquilina says some use a blast of air from the shop air compressor, others use cleaning solvent, while some use water with a bit of dish soap. The key, he says is to push any debris back out the way it came. In other words, pour your cleaner through the filter from the inside out. And as long as there is no damage—from wrecks or on-track contact—to the filter housing, the screen can be cleaned as often and as many times as you like.