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Congress seeks to jack up fees on home heating oil in midst of frigid winter

knotgrumpyknotgrumpy Member Posts: 207
Congress’ mammoth farm bill restores the imposition of an extra fee on home heating oil, hitting consumers in cold-weather states just as utility costs are spiking.

The fee — two-tenths of a cent on every gallon sold — was tacked on to the end of the 959-page bill, which is winding its way through Capitol Hill. The fee would last for nearly 20 years and would siphon the money to develop equipment that is cheaper, more efficient and safer, and to encourage consumers to update their equipment.


  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 6,693
    And if you believe that

    a) the tax won't wind up being paid by consumers and

    b) the money raised will go into research and development to improve oil heating efficiency for all consumers

    I have a slightly used, but in excellent condition, bridge in New York to sell you... cash only, of course.

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 1,484

    Talking about finally re-funding NORA. This is a good thing. It's just about the only way to get out the truth about the oil & gas industry that anyone pays attention to. And yes they do the things they say they are going to do.

    How much for the bridge.....:)
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,532
    tacked on to the end of the 959-page bill

    Amory Lovins, a well-known environmental activist and author, was asked how he could justify cutting down trees to burn in his heating stoves. He replied that he did not cut down trees for that. Well, what does he burn in the stoves. His reply was that he burned energy studies.

    With that 959-page bill, you should ask your congressman to send you a copy of the bill every few days and burn it in your fireplace, wood burning stove, etc.
  • knotgrumpyknotgrumpy Member Posts: 207
    How about

    Slightly used oil boilers.  A fellow has 4 of those for sale on here.

  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 2,938

    It's 2/10ths of a cent. On oil that is $4.25/gallon
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Ken D.Ken D. Member Posts: 820
    Oli fees.

    As volatile the oil prices are today, we really need more costs to our customers, so they switch to another energy source, never to return. I would not mind so much if the money would really be used to better our industry.
  • HPSHPS Member Posts: 7
    promote energy conservation?

    The heating oil industry is a model for energy conservation!!...the heating oil industry has already done this. New boilers, burners, properly tuned heating equipment. The customer has spent tens of thousands of dollars on insulation, windows, siding and efficient heating equipment... Has anyone noticed this?...The average customer uses less than half of the heating oil than they did 35+ years ago!...oh and isn't less demand supposed to drive prices of oil down?'s supply and demand right?
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    NORA Reasearch Fee's:

    The money raised from the sale of oil will be turned over to GAMA and the Wall Street Crime Syndicate to consolidate their ownership of all American gas production and distribution.

    All North American oil production will be processed for automobile and truck use. The rest sold on the world market for the highest market price.

    The only thing lagging behind this story is the galvanized screw.
  • EastmanEastman Member Posts: 783
    Why fund NORA?

    What am missing?
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,584
    Chris... (Ice Sailor)

    GAMA died, and GAMPA took up refuge in Canadahhh. (credit to Jim Davis) :-)

    How ya enjoying retirement?

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • archibald tuttlearchibald tuttle Member Posts: 484
    edited February 2014
    from the frying pan to the boiler

    oh its just a little bit. its for your own good. blah, blah, etc., blah.

    welcome, slowly boiler frogs, to Amerika where every ill can be cured by adding a few cents to your energy bill.

    today its for some industry do good program for training, technology and promotion. sounds like a great thing for the industry to do, why the IV to our wallets? tomorrow it will be for all of you who struggle to pay your bills to pay for oil for those who have given up the struggle.

    (the best news i had from ASHRAE is that HUD is actually allowing subsidized housing to use the more affordable btu metering now available to charge tenants who use more heat.)

    and god forbid NORA is successful in lobbying, we'll get a charge on our fuel oil for a bunch of incentives to install expensive condensing oil boilers in non-condensing applications that will run at the same efficency they theoretically could have. This has worked so well on the gas side and is paid for by the other gas customers to support an industry that has essentially orphaned advances in boilers for condensing emitters. Or emphasized boilers over emitters and envelope improvements because they are a more discrete 'upgrade'.

    how 'bout a peel and seel giveaway? that at least would accomplish something.

    stop me if i sound cynical - oh you probably glazed over several paragraphs back. don't blame ya.

    More American, and to the point, we could start a Heatastat for Humanity charity that takes all the discarded oil boilers (maybe short of the snowmen although love those triple pass coal burners. . .) and uses them with gas conversions to replace aging atmospherics.

    Yeah, this is a small fee. but it continues the slippery slope of placing social priorities in your fuel bill instead of debating them openly as part of your tax bill.  The notion that it can't be passed on prevents really only one strategy, which is an extra line item for another "government tax" on your bill. They don't really care if the cost is passed on, in fact that's what they plan on because they are getting ready to impose some other cost as soon as this one is ironed out.  They just don't want it traced back to politicians who have to stand for reelection.

    How does it look if they are busy putting a chicken in your pot but having you pay for it by raising the cost of the fuel you use to cook it (alright kerosene stoves are kind of on the outs, but you get the point).

    Any industry worth its salt can create NORA programs on their own and can double down, if their claims are real, by financing improved equipment for their customers on promised energy savings.  This of course requires those offering these programs to engage in rational upgrades because they don't get paid if energy used doesn't go down.

    Meanwhile we enforce anti-trust against industry participants who are successful on their own, while empowering these government created industry cabals to siphon money out of people's pockets - go figure.

  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Financing improved equipment for their customers on promised energy savings

    creates a conflict when the industry doing the financing is also selling the fuel which gets saved.  This is an ongoing challenge for utility sponsored efficiency programs which are mandated by state or federal legislation.  Pair that with widespread regulatory capture by those same multinational utility groups and you have a recipe for stagnation and finger-pointing.  Let's provide efficiency incentives, but manage them separately.
  • archibald tuttlearchibald tuttle Member Posts: 484
    that's not necessarily right . . .

    you are suggesting that an oil company doesn't want to sell somebody something that saves them oil.  i don't think that follows when they have other choices, e.g. propane (in any other year than this recently). Even electric in some areas. Natural Gas obviously.

    And even for people who don't have access to natural gas, the industry isn't doing itself any favors if it appears to be holding folks over a barrel. Gas grids are going to continue to expand so having a reputation for helping customers to save energy when they didn't have access to gas can gain you some loyalty if it does arrive. Further, this kind of incentive can be structured as customer retention infra and inter fuel.  in order to pay for the improvement over time with energy savings, a fuel supplier who provides the financing can add a provision that you have to stay with the same supplier to realize the benefits of the contract.  otherwise the outstanding bill has a ballon provision.  just like a fee free credit card that can be called on failure of performance.

    i'm not saying bamboozle people with this, i'm saying i can see models for hierarchical promotion with fuel sellers.

    i can also envision equipment sales side models with wholesalers and manufactuers participating. and there is a degree of conflict on the customer side because they can turn their thermostat up and get more heat but not save energy - that of course can be handled with logging that includes conditioned space temp.  you have to deal with the mix of incentives. it isn't easy to design a perfect program but i can still envision some pretty good ones.

  • JackJack Member Posts: 940
    Perhaps I am a bit behind the times...

    But agreeing that current building methods have our heat loads tumbling down, where is the affordable burner/boiler that can modulate its fire from 10-50kbtu? Most boilers I am familiar with if a tech goes in and has a .5nozzle and the system is giving problems will likely leave that job having installed a .65 or up firing 30%.

    Oil is great heat and a great industry, but at $4.65 a gallon and what I think are Ice's correct comments we are looking at a sunset industry. This is exacerbated by the regional nature of the business too.

    Also, storage volume is a problem. Several years ago we were looking to increase the amount of oil you could have in your home. Does the current 31 allow this. I haven't seen it so do not know. For me, I am burying a 1000gal LP tank and using efficient modulating equipment (I think the benefits of modulation largely offset the 92-140kbtu discussion...yes/no?). That carries me past the mid-$eason fill-ups and makes LP the better choice. YMMV;)
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Not behind the times

    the global energy markets have placed a significant premium on the BTUs in liquid fuels versus those in gaseous fuels.  LPG is a liquid, but its lack of broad applicability in transportation applications combined an antiquated distribution system place it in a vaguely alternate universe.

    Jack, you are right on the money with regards to modulation.  Dynamic matching of the load removes the need for a pickup factor and minimizes standby losses.  It also minimizes thermal stress on components, which contributes to longer life and fewer warranty claims.
  • Here In Massachusetts

    They tack on a small fee to our gas and electric bill for the good neighbor energy fund. It is used to pay for insulation rebates, and zero interest loans for high efficiency boiler installs, along with $1,500 rebates. It seems to be working out pretty well here, perhaps the oil fees will do the same thing?

    Thanks, Bob Gagnon
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • archibald tuttlearchibald tuttle Member Posts: 484
    for who[m]

    it is working out pretty well for condensing boiler manufacturers. if the energy savings actually support the improvements being made, they shouldn't need extra money from other ratepayers to fund these improvements.

    and there is going to be an overhang of replacements. boilers used to be a 3 or 4 generation investment minimum. i suppose, on the upside, all the condensing boilers that aren't condensing might last a little longer -  assuming there is continued support for the peripherals on the platform.

  • I Think It's Good For

    The contractors that are installing them, nearly every boiler job I get, is because of the loans/rebates. Most of my customers report big savings, with an expected short payback period, based on their newer, lower bills. So it's good for the customers too, and lets not forget that saving energy is good for the Planet.

    Thanks, Bob Gagnon
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
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