About Our Industry

The Liquid Fuel Industry

The liquid fuel industry is unique in our national history. The majority of companies are multi-generational family-owned local businesses that provide the most basic of human needs: home comfort. Businesses that were founded to deliver ice and coal are now leading the fight against climate change by delivering next generation, renewable, lower-carbon biofuels. We are honored to represent the liquid fuel retailer and related businesses.


Community-Focused, Family-Owned Businesses

Many of our member companies are family-owned and -operated, with deep roots in the communities they serve. These businesses are not just delivering vital heating fuels and providing essential home comfort services; they are an integral part of the local fabric, often supporting a number of community initiatives and causes. It's not uncommon to see our members donating fuel to homeless shelters, veterans, and active-duty military personnel; supporting first responders and their families; or sponsoring local youth sports teams and community events.

These family-owned businesses are committed to providing exceptional service to their customers, who are also their neighbors and friends. When you are doing business with your local fuel dealer, you are supporting a true Main Street American business, investing in your community and its economy, and helping to maintain the unique character and spirit of your hometown.


Delivering Tomorrow’s Fuels Today: Renewable Liquid Heating Fuels

Bioheat® Heating OilHeating fuel retailers across the country are delivering renewable liquid heating fuels (RLHFs) such as Bioheat® fuel. These fuels blend clean, ultra-low sulfur heating oil with renewable biodiesel to deliver immediate reductions in carbon emissions. RLHFs reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, lubricate heating equipment to increase efficiency, and cost about the same as traditional heating oil. You will see blend levels noted as a number: B5 represents a 5 percent blend of biodiesel; B50 a fifty-percent blend, and B100 is a pure biodiesel.

In 2019, the heating fuel industry joined together in a pledge to reduce carbon emission and reach net-zero carbon by 2050. As of 2024, both the DSTM (the country’s quality guidelines) and United Laboratories (UL) had created safety and quality standards for B100 heating fuels and equipment. The major equipment manufacturers are now producing burners, boilers, and furnaces that will accept all liquid fuels, from traditional heating oil, to biodiesel blends from B2-B99, and even 100 percent biodiesel or renewable diesel. Your local heating oil dealer is most likely delivering a B5 blend or higher. Many retailers are delivering B20 to all their customers, and several are delivering B50 or B100.


Friendly Providers Who Simplify Your Life

Many Oilheat customers enjoy total peace of mind about their home comfort, because they work with a full-service company that offers a complete array of services. Full-service companies perform preventive maintenance, make repairs, and respond to heat emergencies in a timely manner. They also provide programs that help their customers save money, such as equipment service plans, monthly budget plans, price protection programs, and more. Many of our members also provide complete air-conditioning services, radiant heating, solar energy systems, geothermal energy systems, plumbing, electrical, handyman services and more.


iS_6375483.jpgExpert Energy Conservation Advice

Many Oilheat companies are also energy efficiency experts. In the interest of serving customers as effectively as possible, they will often dispatch a conservation expert to a customer's home at no charge for an evaluation and consultation. They will test the existing equipment for efficiency and help the customer form a clear picture of how much energy they stand to save with new equipment.

Many companies have been certified by the Building Performance Institute to provide BPI efficiency audits. These audits produce a comprehensive report for the homeowner to use as a blueprint for a successful energy conservation campaign. They may include recommendations for upgrades or enhancements to the home's heating and cooling systems, insulations, electrical modifications, appliance repair and more.


Proactive Services That Save Money and Add Convenience

Full-service dealers often offer programs to help with cost management, repair costs and price stability.

Budget plans calculate the anticipated cost of fuel for the year and divide that total into even monthly payments. In the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, homeowners can use as much as 80 percent of their annual heating oil in just a few months. A budget plan will reduce the customer’s costs during heating season and make home heating a predictable monthly expense. Many companies allow homeowners to include the cost of a service plan in the monthly payments.

Service plans for heating and cooling are also popular, because they include the cost of the annual tune-up and often include emergency service calls and discounted (or completely covered) costs for parts and labor. In many cases, the annual fee for a service plan can be amortized with the monthly budget plan payments.

Price protection is another valuable extra that many fuel retailers offer. Customers can opt to lock in a flat-rate preseason price, pay for their anticipated fuel costs in advance, or enroll in a capped price plan that minimizes the risks of rising fuel prices while allowing the customer to reap the benefits when prices drop.

State governments and some charitable organizations also offer fuel assistance to qualifying low-income families, senior citizens, disabled individuals, veterans, and active-duty service members. Many fuel retailers also offer a variety of discounts. You should inquire with your local liquid fuel provider about services that might be available to you.


Why Some Heating Fuel Companies Charge More Than Others

The price of heating fuels, such as liquid heating fuel (Oilheat and Bioheat® Fuel) and propane, can vary widely from company to company. This is, first and foremost, a sign of unrestricted competition, which is very good for the consumer.

Companies that offer the lowest prices generally offer fuel delivery only, which means they have lower overhead and can charge less, but they cannot meet the customer's need for preventive maintenance and repairs, and they do not offer additional services like service agreements or budget plans.

Companies that provide full service tend to be proactive and customer oriented. They carry generous insurance coverage to shelter the customer from liability; employ teams of expert technicians and customer service representatives; and maintain a large inventory of parts in order to make timely repairs. They hire drivers, technicians, and office personnel for the long term, rather than seasonally, and provide health insurance and other benefits in order to retain the expertise that they cultivate. Full-service fuel retailers tailor their services for customers looking for comprehensive service, and build the costs of delivering superior service into their fuel price.