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HEATING OIL

Heating Oil Myths


Your Richmond area friends or neighbors may tell you that heating oil is old-fashioned, or that your heating oil tank is unsafe. Or, perhaps, you've received a mailing asking you to consider converting to another fuel. We're here to shatter any myths circulating about heating oil and give you the facts.

Myth: Heating oil is expensive.
Fact: Heating oil has cost less than natural gas for the majority of the past 20 years. Heating oil is also less expensive than electricity.

Myth: Heating oil does not produce as much energy as other fuel sources. Fact: Each gallon of heating oil contains approximately 139,000 units of thermal energy (BTUs), making it an economically competitive energy source.

Myth: Heating oil today is inefficient.
Fact: Heating oil systems in use today use substantially less fuel than they did just 20 years ago. This decrease in usage is attributable to advances in equipment efficiency and household conservation. New heating oil systems boast energy efficiency ratings from 83 to 94%.

Myth: Heating oil produces many harmful air emissions.
Fact: Heating oil burns almost 95% cleaner than it did in 1970. Today, residential oil burners produce less than one-third of one percent of total U.S. particulate emissions. To gain even greater efficiency and lower emissions, the industry, in coordination with state environmental agencies, is working to cut the sulfur content of heating oil from 1,500 parts per million to 15 parts per million by 2018. And, when ultra-low sulfur heating oil is combined with renewable biofuels, you get the cleanest heating oil available. Read more about biofuels and biodiesel.

Myth: Heating oil has not responded to concerns about global warming.
Fact: Since 1970, the heating oil industry has cut its total greenhouse gas emissions by approximately one third.

Myth: Heating oil is not renewable.
Fact: In addition to its sulfur reductions, the heating oil industry is moving toward zero emissions with new fuel blends of heating oil and biofuel, called Bioheat®, which contain between 2 and 20% renewable biodiesel. When combined with biodiesel to create Bioheat® heating oil has the potential to reduce emissions to the lowest level of any fossil fuel. Read more about biodiesel and biofuels.
In fact, if just 5% of Americans heated their homes with today's Bioheat®, it would be equivalent to taking 700,000 cars and trucks off the road.

Myth: The heating oil industry does not contribute to the local economy.
Fact: Each year, the heating oil industry accounts for $20 billion in sales and $1.9 billion in payroll for 49,000 Americans. The fact that half of the U.S. energy workforce is expected to retire in the next 10 years, when combined with the heating oil industry's commitment to renewable fuels like biodiesel and Bioheat®, means that there will be thousands of good-paying jobs available. Read more about Bioheat, biofuels and biodiesel.

Myth: The heating oil industry is dependent on foreign energy from hostile suppliers.
Fact: The United States produces the vast majority of its heating oil and imports 10 to 15% from Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Canada and Mexico also provide the United States with a significant amount of its crude oil. Advances in biofuels such as Bioheat® (heating oil blended with renewable biodiesel) mean more heating oil can be produced in the Midwest instead of the Middle East. And new exploration technologies such as horizontal drilling also mean the United States can responsibly produce more oil at home.

Myth: Heating oil is explosive.
Fact: Oilheat will not burn in a liquid state. In order to ignite heating oil, you must heat it above 140*F, the temperature at which it begins to vaporize. If you drop a match into heating oil at room temperature, it will go out as if dropped into water. Read more about Oilheat safety.
When all of the economic and environmental factors are considered, heating oil has a great track record in terms of its reliability, affordability, and sustainability; and with biofuels and Bioheat®, its future is even brighter.


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