Fuel Oil vs. Heating Oil: What’s the Difference?

Fuel Oil vs. Heating Oil: What’s the Difference?

Understanding Various Types of Oil

heating oil maine What do you call the fuel that your Maine heating oil company delivers to your home and pumps into your tank? Heating oil? Fuel oil? Maybe you just call it oil. Have you ever described it as Bioheat® fuel?

First, a lot of people tend to interchange heating oil with fuel oil when describing their home heating fuel. That’s perfectly fine, but be aware that the term fuel oil is not limited to home heating oil.
Fuel oil is a broader term because it refers to any petroleum product that can power a home heating system or an engine. For instance, diesel fuel is a good example of a fuel oil, as is gasoline.

Both fuel oil and hone heating oil are sourced from crude oil during the refining process, which separates crude oil into different “fractions” while removing impurities. The lighter fractions of crude oil eventually become propane, butane, and petrochemicals.

Slightly heavier fractions are used to produce gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and No. 2 home heating oil. But that’s not all. There are also heavier fractions refined from crude oil that are transformed into No. 4 or No. 6 heating oils. These heavier grades of heating oil are commonly used to fuel the large heating systems found in commercial and industrial buildings, schools and hospitals.

Three Common Fuel Oil Products

  1. Kerosene — A clear fuel that was first used to power oil lamps in the 19th Century, kerosene is made by distilling crude oil at extremely high temperatures. Kerosene has a low “gel point.” This means it can continue to work well in sustained freezing temperatures. That’s why it is typically used by heating oil consumers with mobile homes or outdoor fuel tanks.
  2. Diesel —This is the fuel of choice for most commercial ventures. It can be used to power buses, trucks, generators, farm equipment and boats. While there are two categories of diesel–on-road and off-road—there is no chemical difference between them. The only difference is their appearance, intended usage and price.
  3. Heating oil — Petroleum-based home heating oil, also called No. 2 fuel oil, is essentially the same as off-road diesel. However, many homeowners and businesses can now can count on an even more environmentally-friendly product when they get a heating oil delivery.

Bioheat Fuel in Maine

Many heating oil companies, including those in Maine, now deliver Bioheat fuel—ultra-low sulfur heating oil blended with renewable biofuel.

The most refined grade of heating oil available, Bioheat fuel is one of the cleanest burning heating sources for your home. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions significantly compared to the heating oil from the past and no changes to your existing heating oil system are necessary.

What Carbon Neutral Means

The biodiesel blend in Bioheat fuel is composed of various organic products, including vegetable oils, animal fats and even algae and wood waste.

Biodiesel is considered a biogenic fuel that eliminates carbon output. By contrast, when traditional fossil fuels that do not contain biodiesel are burned, they take carbon that was once stored in the soil and transfer 100% of that carbon into the atmosphere.

On the other hand, the combustion of biofuels and other biogenic energy sources recycles carbon-dioxide emissions through renewable plant materials and other biomass feedstocks. That’s why you’ll keep hearing a lot about net-zero carbon emissions and carbon neutral fuels in the years ahead.

Find out more about getting reliable heating oil delivery from your full-service Maine heating oil company.