If not now…when?

Written on: September 19, 2012 by ICM

Now I am going to sound like the old guy, but in my 35 years in and around the oilheating industry there have never been challenges like the ones the industry is facing now. There have been oil embargoes, Middle East wars, environmental criticism, storage tank issues, etc., but now we have instances of government attempting to manipulate the public marketplace to hand oilheat customers over to natural gas.
At the recently completed Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association annual meeting, ICPA’s Gene Guilford revealed CT’s energy plan which includes assisting natural gas in taking 1/3 of the state’s oilheat customers. Connecticut does not feel it is “right” for oilheat to have a 50% market share regardless of what free-market forces are in place. Natrual gas, distributed by gigantic, rich and powerful utilities needs help and the state is willing to give it to them at the expense of oilheat.
Of course, ICPA is fighting tooth and nail to end this theft and Mr. Guilford made an impassioned plea (literally backed by a gospel choir) for members to mobilize and put an end to this craziness.
However, in New York City a revolution is underway. NY is poised to become the first major city to have a mandate in place to include biodiesel in all heating oil sales, giving us the first true Bioheat marketplace. The significance of this can not be overstated. Bioheat gives the only current response to those trying to eliminate oilheating from the map.
Look at the most common criticisms about oilheat: foreign oil, environmentally unsound, dirty, non-renewable…need I go on?
Bioheat (the combination of biodiesel which meets ASTM D6751 and heating oil) can address, at least to some extent, each of them. With the Renewable Fuel Standard 2 (US EPA) in place, it virtually assures adequate supply of domestically produced biodiesel. Every gallon made here is a gallon not imported. Bioheat has a lower carbon footprint, is clean burning (no sulfur in the biodiesel) and of course it comes from the farms of America. Maybe it is not the complete solution, but is is the best available for now and in fact, for many a year.
I have heard it summed-up this way. “If not Bioheat…then what? If not now…when?”