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

Alternative Fuels Good for Business at California Truck Stop

Located in a trucking hub, Fontana Truck Stop Center meets demand for cleaner fuels and sees positive margins with biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel.

Fontana Truck Stop Center has an ideal location. It’s just off one interstate and near another, both of them taking traffic to and from Los Angeles. It’s also in an industrial area populated with distribution centers, manufacturers and equipment dealerships.

“Fontana is a major hub for trucking,” says truck stop co-owner Lonnie Tabbaa. “You have all the big industries here. And we service all the major fleets and the smaller ones, both local and out-of-state drivers.”

But with fierce competition in the area for drivers, success is not guaranteed. Fontana Truck Stop Center has found that offering renewable fuels is one way to stand out, so they sell biodiesel blends and a blend of biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel (RHD) at its diesel islands.

The biodiesel advantage

Sustainability comes into play a couple of different ways.

First, companies and municipalities are increasingly adopting sustainability plans that aim to reduce their carbon footprints. Transportation fuels are a significant part of those efforts.

Second, the state of California is a global leader in setting policies to cut emissions. That includes the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), which requires a reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels.

Fontana Truck Stop Center began selling biodiesel blends in 2015, starting at a B5 blend before quickly moving up to B20.

“Biodiesel is better for the environment than regular diesel,” says Abdul Mardini, the truck stop’s general manager. “It also gives us an advantage on the price we pay for fuel. At the same time, we can offer it to the drivers at a lower price. And it gives us an advantage on the truck stops that don’t use it.”

New blend draws interest

In 2017, Fontana Truck Stop Center began offering renewable hydrocarbon diesel for similar reasons: sustainability and economics. Then REG, which they buy fuel from, made them aware that blending biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel was an option. The blended product features many of the best attributes of the individual fuels:

• Superior emissions reductions.
• Excellent Cetane and lubricity, and lower aromatics and Cloud Point.
• Easy handling and storage.
• Allows companies to stretch their supply of RHD, which can be hard to get.

“The economics have been better for us and for drivers, we’ve heard no complaints about performance and it’s good for the environment,” Mardini says. “Also, there’s a lot of demand for RHD in California. By blending it with 20 percent biodiesel, we can expand our supplies of RHD.”

Renewables attract customers

Renewable fuels have done more for Fontana Truck Stop Center than drive business to the pumps. By attracting drivers to the truck stop, they’ve also given a boost to other services, such as in-store food sales, a detail center and a truck wash.

“I’ve told many friends of mine, as well as competitors who have truck stops, that renewable fuels are a good thing to have,” Tabbaa says. “It’s clean for the environment, you can make a better margin on the fuels and the drivers are fine with it. There are no issues.”

"A lot of fleets are sending their trucks to places that have cleaner-burning fuels. Also, we see better margins with renewable fuels than regular diesel fuel. They’re good for business."
Lonnie Tabbaa Co-owner, Fontana Truck Stop Center