Bloomberg Makes it Official: Low-Sulfur Heating Oil Required in NYC by 2012
According to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Twitter feed, he on Monday signed city intro. 194-A into law, which mandates lower sulfur content in no. 4 and no. 6 heating oils. No. 4 and no. 6 heating oils, often referred to as “residual fuels,” are made up of the low-quality end products of the oil refining process and are usually used to power ships and heavy machinery. In New York City, many condominiums, apartment complexes, and other large commercial buildings use the fuels for heating because they are relatively cheap. Unfortunately, what make the fuels cheap are the many impurities they contain, which cause inefficient combustion that results in unhealthy and unsightly black emissions.
The enactment of intro. 194-A requires that heating oils burned in New York City must contain no more than 1,500 parts per million of sulfur after October 1, 2012. It also requires all heating oil used in the city after October 1, 2012 to contain at least 2 percent biodiesel.
Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn jointly announced support for the measure in late July, so the signing of the law was just a formality. Now fully official, the new law means cleaner air for all new Yorkers and more energy-efficient heating systems in large buildings.
Some voices in the refining industry claim that the new mandates will bring higher heating oil prices for residential and commercial customers alike, but considering that the requirements will be phased in over a 26-month period and supplies of lower-sulfur heating oil are ample, DEP commissioner Cas Holloway called that claim “overstated.”