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

Up And Running With Biodiesel

BIODIESEL GIVES TOW TRUCK COMPANY THE PERFORMANCE IT NEEDS FOR COMPLICATED JOBS AT A PRICE THAT HELPS ITS BOTTOM LINE.

Central Iowa Towing

 

There’s nothing simple about being a tow truck driver at Central Iowa Towing & Recovery. Not when your job involves calculating the load limits, resistance and angle of approach needed to safely pull a big rig out of an interstate ditch.

There’s also nothing simple about operating a 62,000-pound tow truck while pulling a vehicle that weighs 80,000 pounds. That’s 142,000 pounds rolling down the road.

What Dustin Tapp, owner of the Ames-based company, does want to keep simple is his fuel. He wants fuel that is readily available, is cost-effective and performs well.

He’s found all of that in biodiesel.

“I’ve experienced the cost of my overhead going down with biodiesel. The cost of what appears to be emissions-caused breakdowns going down. We’re not losing any fuel mileage. And it’s a less expensive fuel,” Tapp says. “That should be enough to sell anyone. Lowering your costs while keeping your income the same? Makes sense to me.”

 

FUEL THAT PERFORMS

Tapp started Central Iowa Towing & Recovery in 2014 as the sole employee with one truck and operating out of an old farm shop. He’s grown it into a business with three locations, over 35 employees and nearly 50 trucks ranging from light to heavy-duty that operate throughout the contiguous United States.

The company does plenty of traditional tow jobs, but it’s really made a name for itself with its ability to tow heavy-duty trucks. In addition to responding to accidents and breakdowns, this includes transporting tractors across the nation on behalf of trucking companies.

“Our trucks are emergency response units to a degree,” Tapp says. “They can get called out at any given time, in any given temperature, in any given condition. We can’t afford to put just any fuel in them or do anything else that would negatively affect our performance.”

Until 2018, the fleet ran on No. 2 ULSD. Then Tapp gave biodiesel a try after hearing about the renewable fuel’s performance and financial benefits. Now the fleet typically runs on B11, meaning the fuel is 11 percent biodiesel and 89 percent petroleum diesel.

“Making the switch was simple,” Tapp says. “We used our same storage tanks and changed the filters out. The vehicles didn’t notice a difference, and our fuel mileage is where it’s always been.”

If anything, they’ve noticed performance advantages with biodiesel, including no fuel injector issues since switching. Biodiesel provides the lubricity needed to protect components like injectors, which ULSD doesn’t do.

“We put over 100,000 miles a year on some of the trucks, and they need the power to run themselves and also tow a large truck. Biodiesel has given us what we need,” Tapp says. “On top of all that, it has been a more cost-effective option for us.”

 

‘EVERYTHING IS VERY SMOOTH’

Renewable Energy Group produces the biodiesel and, through its fuel service in Iowa, delivers a blended product to Central Iowa Towing & Recovery’s fuel tanks.

“Fuel quality is great. Service is great. Delivery is fast. Accounting, billing — everything is very smooth,” Tapp says.

Smooth is also a good way to describe his experience with biodiesel.

“Fleet performance is extremely important,” Tapp says. “The performance of our fuel, the performance of our trucks cannot suffer from anything, and we’ve had good luck with biodiesel.”



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