A cheaper—and more environmentally acceptable—home heating fuel oil is now available in NY State and Westchester County. As of July 1, 2006, B20 (which is 20% soybean oil, 80% #2 oil) is being delivered in Westchester County, at a discount, from at least two suppliers: Schildwachter Fuel Oil Co. (based in Bronx) and Total Fuel Services of New Rochelle.
The soybean oil is produced domestically, so using this fuel also reduces our dependence on foreign oil. Other suppliers may begin to offer this fuel soon, so be sure to ask your present supplier if he’s planning to do so before the heating season begins.
The B20 price before discount is roughly $.10 a gallon higher than standard #2 oil (depending on quantity and vendor) but earlier this month NY State started offering a $.20/gallon discount (yielding a net savings) that is returned to the customer as a tax credit (which means you get the money back when you file your State income taxes).
B20 is essentially the same as BioWillie (www.biowillie.com), the diesel fuel being promoted for trucks by country singer Willy Nelson for the last few years. #2 fuel oil and diesel are chemically the same (diesel has a dye added to it to distinguish it for tax purposes).
B20 burns cleaner than diesel and works fine in both diesel trucks and #2 oil boilers. It has the same heat content, so a gallon of B20 goes just as far as regular fuel oil.
For more details on these two firms and their services (and the B20 fuel tax credit), go to www.schildwachteroil.com/biofuel.html and www.totalfuel.com. To learn more about B20 and other biofuels, go to www.biodiesel.org. Switching to B20 won’t solve all our energy problems, but it’s an easy way to reduce emissions and cut our dependence on foreign oil (while saving on fuel costs!).
— Lindsay Audin