Gaining an Edge with Bioheat® Blended Fuel

Hart Home Comfort has evolved many times over its history. One of its more recent changes is blending heating oil with biodiesel to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits. 

The Biodiesel Difference

Hart Home Comfort has come a long way from operating a fledgling company in the back of a gas station. Through a blend of patience and industry expertise, Ray Hart Sr. has evolved his business into a leading heating oil company in the country’s largest metropolis — New York City.

Hart was introduced to the heating oil business through part-time COD deliveries. Purchasing a terminal on Long Island then provided an avenue for him into the transportation market.

In 2006, an employee recommended that Hart Home Comfort explore biodiesel. Capitalizing on his existing infrastructure, Hart moved ahead and has never looked back. For heating oil customers, the company began by offering Bioheat® blended fuel, which is a blend of heating oil and biodiesel. Hart Home Comfort started with a B2 blend before quickly moving up to B20. 

“When we started, we were attracted by biodiesel being an American-made fuel. We also felt we had a responsibility to future generations to be proactive in delivering a cleaner fuel for the environment,” Hart says. “Now, Bioheat® also gives us an economic advantage.” 

It also gives their customers an economic advantage in the form of a New York state tax credit. That credit returns to the customer 1 cent for every 1 percent of biodiesel per gallon blended into traditional heating oil. 

“Claiming the tax credit is a very easy process for our customers, and it gives them another reason to embrace Bioheat® blended fuel in addition to the environmental and performance benefits,” Hart says.

Hart Home Comfort only offers Bioheat® blended fuel. From April 2017 to April 2018, the company sold over 8 million gallons, with more than 2 million gallons of that being biodiesel. Its New Hyde Park terminal thru-puts approximately 13 million to 15 million gallons of heating oil annually and another 4 million to 5 million gallons of biodiesel.

“We want to market a good, reliable Bioheat® blended fuel product,” Hart says. “With the introduction of low-sulfur heating oil and the near-zero sulfur content of biodiesel, it gives us a really good marketing edge.”   

The Bottom Line

Economics

Bioheat® blended fuel gives the company a financial advantage

Business

Improved customer satisfaction thanks to:

  • The state tax credit, which puts money back in customers' pockets
  • Offering a cleaner burning fuel

Growing the Biodiesel Business with Proven Results

To introduce biodiesel to their customers, Ag-Land FS, Inc., put the benefits front and center.

Success in the field proves biodiesel’s value.

When Ag-Land FS, Inc., began marketing biodiesel blended fuel in 2002, they knew they needed to provide data and prove to farmer members that biodiesel was a viable alternative.

“We did not want to come into the marketplace until we actually took biodiesel into the field and put it on trial,” says Kevin Lockart, energy consultant with Ag-Land FS. “So we did some testing with the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District that proved biodiesel blended fuel was a viable option for our commercial and agricultural customers.”

Once that test proved successful, the transition was easy and customers were excited about the potential of biodiesel.

Economic benefits help convince customers. 

In addition to supporting local farmers and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, biodiesel gave Ag-Land FS customers a significant economic edge. In Illinois, the sales tax on transportation fuel can be up to 25 cents higher per gallon than taxes in neighboring states. But when a retailer offers biodiesel blends of B11 or higher, the biodiesel blended fuel is not subject to the additional sales tax.

“We began offering a B2 biodiesel blended fuel in 2002 and rapidly moved to offer a B11 blend to take advantage of the Illinois tax abatement,” says Lockart. “I must admit it wasn’t an easy transition, and it took a lot of work, but looking back it was worth the effort. I estimate 95 percent of farmers in our trade territory utilize a B11 or higher biodiesel blended fuel today.”

Passing savings to customers helps increase market share. 

By passing the tax savings on to their customers, Ag-Land FS was able to increase their market share beyond the agricultural industry. The Greater Peoria Mass Transit system has been using biodiesel blended fuel for the past 10 years, as well as several other over-the-road trucking fleets in the Peoria area, ranging from five to 500 trucks. Many of these Ag-Land FS customers have experienced increases in mileage using biodiesel blends — up to 6.5 percent with on-road trucks — particularly those that do a lot of stopping and going.

"We are lessening dependence on foreign oil. The greenhouse gas emission reduction is probably what drives Ag-Land FS, Inc., more than anything. It's one of those rare things where it's the right thing to do."
Kevin Lockart, Energy Management Specialist, Ag-Land FS, Inc.
 
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