What’s it Worth to Save Our Industry?
FIRST SEEN IN FUEL OIL NEWS | The heating oil industry is in the fight of its life. We are in danger of continuing to lose market share to other energy sources while under threat of being legislated out of business.
As an industry we have recognized many of our shortcomings. We know that for our descendants, we want them to live on a cleaner greener planet and carbon-based fuels are not part of that plan. Thankfully, there is a plan to transform our industry and provide arguably one of the cleanest, greenest, and most renewable fuels available. As always, our path forward is fraught with challenges. There are many stakeholders – customers, legislators, our own employees – who need convincing that the heating oil industry is no longer a dirty fuel provider.
While there is some uncertainty in the future, what’s crystal clear is that we will not win this battle by staying the course. That’s why so many industry leaders are getting behind what’s become known as “The Providence Resolution” which establishes an industry-wide (and industry-saving) target of achieving Net-Zero carbon emissions by 2050. I probably won’t make it to 2050, but it is important to me that the industry which has given so much to so many family-owned businesses, survives.
As with all good causes, it will not be an easy venture. We are fighting the electrify everything movement and those people and politicians waving the electric flag fail to consider where electric comes from. Sure, electric panels on roofs and on solar farms are clean energy, however only around 1.8% of the electricity generated comes from solar, 62.7% comes from fossil fuels and 19.7% from nuclear according to EIA.
Renewables account for 17.5% and is the fastest growing segment. The delivered fuels industry can be part of that growth and we can continue to support the family owned businesses who provide high paying jobs in local communities. They key is to have a comprehensive plan, and the industry is in the process, however it takes money, lots of money, to implement the plan. We need to get the word out to the masses and have the supply chain ready to service our customers.
We have learned that it takes money to fight for your livelihood. In the heating oil industry, we fought for the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) and were able to get legislation passed to assess $.002 gallon on all heating oil for education and research purposes. Those funds could not be used to target other fuels such as natural gas, who was targeting heating oil. As a result, the American Energy Coalition was formed to point out the shortcomings of natural gas. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were contributed by fuel dealers and vendors to the fuel industry. Their efforts have shown real progress.
Half a Penny for Your Thoughts
So how much will it cost? Someone close to the net zero carbon movement told me they thought it would cost around $19,000 a week for the next phase. That’s around a million bucks a year. Chump change I say! NORA generates eight times that at 20 points a gallon. I question if that would be enough. I think we should more than double the NORA allocation that amount and go to ½ cent. Do you really think that your customers would mind paying ½ cent per gallon ($3.75 a year for 750 gallons) to promote and help implement a cleaner fuel with no carbon? I think it’s a no brainer. $.005 would be around $20 million a year to help develop a clean fuel for future generations while saving an industry.
I don’t know how the cards will play out, but I do know that this is a great shot at long term delivered fuel industry survival and a cleaner plan for our future generations. Please support the industry as we try to move the ball forward on net zero carbon.
First published in Fuel Oil News, November 2020 edition