How Biofuels Help Save Money and Lower Carbon Emissions
By Miriam Gold, July 27, 2021
Westchester home and business owners can save money by buying heating oil mixed with biofuel and lower their carbon footprint at the same time.
New York State offers a tax credit as an incentive to use biofuel.
“The credit is equal to one cent for each percent of biodiesel per gallon of bio heating fuel purchased before January 1, 2023,” states the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance website.
For instance, buyers purchasing 1,000 gallons of B20 biofuel (heating oil with 20 percent biofuel) will save $200, according to the Empire State Energy Association.
Biofuels are comprised of a blend of oils from organic matter such as soybeans and corn.
These crops are replenished regularly, unlike fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas. Using biofuels lowers your carbon emissions by 86 percent, according to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) website www.biodiesel.org.
The NBB explains that biofuels function well at any temperature, contrary to popular belief that biofuels cannot be used during cold weather.
Manufacturing biofuels creates American jobs, another reason to use them.
About 60,000 Americans work in the biofuels industry.
“For every 100 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel that is produced – the industry creates 3,200 jobs. So, as these fuels grow – so does its job-creating ability,” the NBB states.
Since biofuels are composed of a wide variety of organic materials, all industries, including manufacturing, agriculture and transportation, that assist in growing and harvesting these materials benefit economically. The biodiesel industry has added more than $12 billion to the American economy since the energy source has been introduced, the NBB stated.
In addition to benefiting the environment and creating new jobs, using heating oil that contains biofuels helps soybean farmers.
“Biofuels burn more cleanly,” said Dan Singer, CEO of Robison Oil, which services Westchester and Putnam counties and is based in Port Chester.
Singer, who drives an electric car, said that biofuel contains, “lower sulfur content.”
Using biodiesel leads to “better air quality” and “lowers your carbon footprint, Singer explained.
Robison’s heating oil is 10 percent biofuel. The company is working on increasing its biofuel content to 20 percent within the next two years. Westchester County mandates that all heating oil must contain at least 5 percent biodiesel.
The biofuel used by Robison is made entirely from soybeans farmed in the United States.
The quality of heating oil with biofuel is the same as heating oil that contains fuels. When Robison began adding biofuel to heating oil, the company ensured that customers’ heating oil equipment would function equally well with biofuels and that customers would not face additional costs.
“Using biofuel also helps America reduce its dependence on oil suppliers from foreign countries that may or may not be friendly with the U.S,” Singer said.
Singer is committed to helping reduce damage to the climate and wants “to make sure we do our part to lower our carbon footprint and help our customers do the same.”
“At the end of the day, we live on this planet too,” he said.
Miriam Gold is a rising sophomore at Pleasantville High School.
Michael Gold provided research assistance for this article.