There is a lot of work involved long before heating oil eventually reaches your heating oil tank. It starts with heating oil being refined from crude oil, which is a complex mix of hydrocarbons plus oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur. The refining process separates crude oil into different “fractions” while removing impurities.
The lighter fractions of crude oil eventually become propane, butane, and petrochemicals while heavier fractions are used to produce gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and No. 2 home heating oil. Even heavier fractions become No. 4 or No. 6 heating oils. This is used for commercial and industrial buildings, schools, and hospitals.
After refining, No. 2 home heating oil resembles the color of champagne. However, for tax purposes, regulations require that heating fuel be dyed red before it is sold so it cannot be confused with on-road diesel fuel, which is subject to tax. The dye has no effect on the fuel and how it burns. In short, diesel fuel and No. 2 fuel oil are virtually the same thing, in terms of their chemical composition. The dye is used to set them apart.
Speaking of similarities, there is also a No. 1 fuel oil, which is similar to kerosene but less refined. No. 1 fuel oil has a lower pour point, which means it won’t gel as quickly as No. 2 heating oil does in extreme cold. However, it produces fewer BTUs of heating energy than No. 2 heating oil.
After it is refined and ready for use, heating oil is transported by ship, barge, truck, and/or pipeline to major fuel terminals. It is distributed from these terminals to local heating oil companies. Many of these companies have their own storage facilities, which can hold thousands of gallons of heating oil. These company storage facilities ensure that an adequate supply of fuel is on hand during the cold months for people who rely on heating oil delivery to keep their homes warm.
Home heating oil has progressively grown cleaner and more efficient, thanks in large part to vast reductions in the sulfur content of heating oil. Here is why this is important.
Heating oil has also been reformulated with Bioheat® fuel, which consists of ultra-low sulfur heating oil that’s blended with renewable biodiesel. Bioheat fuel blends represent the future of heating oil in our country.
The most refined grade of heating oil available, Bioheat fuel is one of the cleanest burning heating sources for your home. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions significantly and no changes to your existing heating oil system are necessary.
Read more about the benefits of Bioheat fuel.