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Heating Oil: What the Future Holds

Heating oil today is light-years ahead of where it was just a few decades ago. And the future is even brighter.

What’s in your oil tank?

The heating oil industry continues to undergo a revolution in the advancement of its fuel — and the equipment used to burn that fuel.

Pathway to carbon-neutral liquid fuels

Thanks to research and development being spearheaded by the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA), heating oil is being made more cleanly and efficiently than ever before. The overall goal is to keep improving the quality of fuel and the efficiency of oil heat equipment. This will further reduce the carbon footprint and actually turn heating oil into a carbon-neutral energy source.

The industry is also working on the development of an oil-fired thermal heat pump, to provide more equipment options for oil heat consumers.

Challenges

With all of this in the mix, it’s no wonder that NORA has raised an alarm about a push by some states to encourage conversions to electric heat. Research has shown that such “policy-driven electrification” would increase the average residential household cost, result in minimal reductions in emissions and put a severe strain on the electric grid.*

“It is premature for policy makers to consider regulating against heating oil when all liquid fuel furnaces and boilers could be run on a low-carbon alternative fuel before 2035,” says John Huber, NORA’s president. “The capability of the oil heating industry to innovate and reduce carbon emissions has not been adequately recognized.”

*Source: Richard Sweetser presentation, NORA Technology Workshop, Sept. 2018.

Safety on all fronts

We talk a lot about the importance of great service. And a huge part of that is safety — for your home and property, for our staff, and for the environment.

It starts with our product. Heating oil is exceptionally stable and safe. It cannot explode — even if you drop a lit match into it. Heating oil is also much safer in the case of a carbon monoxide leak, because you will get a warning sign about a malfunction — unlike with natural gas.

TechnicianMother and babyFuel truck

In addition, the highly refined fuel we deliver is better for the environment, because it burns more cleanly, with fewer emissions, while producing more Btu’s of heat.

Our staff is highly trained, and their training ensures careful handling and storage and protects against spills, accidents and injuries. Our team is dedicated to embracing the latest technologies and best practices in order to maintain the highest standards for health and safety.

This end-to-end commitment to safety can’t be duplicated by the natural gas utilities. Problems with gas pipelines can often go undetected, and may result in property damage. Last year in Massachusetts, a faulty pipeline led to several gas explosions and numerous fires.

Today’s oil storage tanks

Furnace

Furnaces and boilers aren’t the only types of oil heating equipment that have improved substantially over the years. There have been major advancements in heating oil storage tanks too! Here are a few things to know that will help you make good decisions about the tank on your property:

  • Aboveground is the way to go. Homeowners prefer to have their oil tanks easily accessible, either in their basement or outside their home. Aboveground tanks are smaller and easier to work with, and they provide extra protection.
  • Keep it current — go modern. Today’s tank technology is truly impressive. Some aboveground tanks are double-walled to give homeowners complete peace of mind. Plus, some tanks boast 20-year and 30-year warranties.
  • Sleek designs. When it comes time to sell your home, an aboveground tank will make your property much more marketable. If you have a new and improved aboveground tank located outside, this can even add to your curb appeal. Today’s aboveground tanks look a lot more attractive than the ones you might have seen at your grandparents’ house decades ago!

Boiler

Heating oil storage tanks are strong, sturdy and durable. But, like any other piece of equipment, they won’t last forever. So if you own a tank that is more than 30 years old — whether it’s aboveground or underground — call us to start researching your replacement options. You won’t be disappointed by what’s available today!

The new normal for heating oil prices

Thanks to big increases in domestic supply, a reduction in global demand and a strong U.S. dollar, oil prices are well below the levels of a few years ago — and are expected to stay stable for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has described this as a “new normal” in heating oil prices.

While prices can fluctuate throughout the year depending on factors like the weather, supply and demand, and geopolitical events, the current outlook bodes well for the future. You can feel confident knowing that heating oil will keep you safe and warm without breaking the bank.

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