Vermont’s supply of home heating oil is poised to become cleaner and more efficient this summer. The Clean and Green Oilheat Initiative, which was signed into law as part of the 2011 Vermont Energy Act, establishes a timeline for low sulfur, biodiesel blended heating fuel. The first part of the law will be implemented on July 1, 2014, when Vermont requires all heating oil sold in the state to be nearly sulfur free. The Vermont clean fuel standard will become 500 parts-per-million at the end of the month and a mere 15 parts-per-million by 2018.
The state mandate will match the federal requirement for clean diesel that was implemented in 2005. Over the past decade, consumers that want more miles per gallon and less pollution are increasingly choosing diesel powered vehicles. Experts predict that the number of diesel car sales will double next year because of this clean and efficient alternative.
The same benefits of clean diesel will soon be realized for oilheat consumers and the environment. According to several studies, ultra-low sulfur heating oil can immediately save as much as 12 cents per gallon— thanks to increased efficiency and longevity in existing systems. In the near future, even greater savings will be realized as consumers upgrade to ultra-efficient heating systems that utilize low sulfur fuel.
Vermont law also requires the heating oil supply to contain renewable fuel blends once surrounding states implement similar requirements. As demonstrated in testimony before the Vermont Public Service Board, low sulfur heating oil with a B-20 biodiesel blend is cleaner than natural gas. Even without the mandate, most of Vermont’s oilheat providers are already moving toward a clean, renewable, American-made fuel. This biodiesel blended oilheat, known as BioHeat®, works seamlessly with existing heating equipment and tanks. Thanks to these and other measures, the carbon footprint of the more 300,000 Vermonters that choose oilheat to keep them safe and warm in the winter will be significantly reduced.
Source: VFDA 6.18.2014