New York: Heating oil must be biodiesel blend starting in July

New York City - Empire State Building - free stock image via Lukas Kloeppel/Pexels

As of July 1, heating oil sold for use in any building in the state of New York must be blended with biodiesel, under a new law passed in December. The law mandates that heating oil must contain at least 5% biodiesel starting this year, 10% by 2025 and 20% by 2030, Reuters reported.

New York, now the largest state with such legislation, joins Rhode Island and Connecticut, which adopted their own biodiesel blending requirements in the summer of 2021. Blending requirements are already in place under local laws in the state, in Long Island and New York City.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the legislation on Dec. 23 as part of a package of environmental laws. She called the biodiesel law a step towards achieving the ambitions of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which gives New York State the goal of achieving a level of greenhouse gas emissions that is 85% below the 1990 levels by 2050.

“These pieces of legislation will ensure our state remains a national leader, not only in the fight for clean air and water, but in securing a cleaner, more sustainable future for generations as well.” Governor Hochul said in a statement.

Biodiesel can reduce use of oil from crude

Biodiesel is a fuel derived from vegetable oils, used cooking oils, and animal fats. It is non-toxic and biodegradable and produced by combining alcohol with vegetable oil, animal fat, or recycled cooking grease, according to the Department of Energy. Biomass diesel fuels are commonly used as additives to petroleum diesel fuels.

Additionally, using ethanol or biodiesel reduces the consumption of gasoline and diesel fuel made from crude oil. In turn, this can reduce the amount of crude oil imported from other countries, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Biodiesel and ethanol are also cleaner-burning fuels than fossil fuels like gasoline and regular diesel fuel.

The new law will reduce New York State’s annual diesel consumption by about 200 million gallons per year, reducing annual carbon emissions by about 1 million tons, according to the Empire State Energy Association, a trade group representing energy marketers in New York State.

Biodiesel accounts for the majority of U.S. biomass-based diesel fuel use. In 2019, the US consumed about 43 million barrels of biomass-based diesel fuel, nearly all as biodiesel blends with petroleum diesel, according to the EIA.

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