Council Could Require Biodiesel to Heat Buildings [UPDATED]

For those buildings in the city that are kept warm with heating oil, a City Council proposal could throw some old French fry residue into the mix. Tomorrow, the council’s environmental protection committee is hearing two bills that would require all heating oil to be 20 percent biodiesel, forcing the more environmentally friendly combustible often made from vegetable oil into the mix. The bills, introduced by Council Members James Gennaro and David Yassky, would take full effect in 2013.

Biodiesel tends to be more expensive than normal heating oil, though advocates in New York and elsewhere are pushing for government subsidies.

Update 7:20 p.m.

We just got ahold of Councilman Gennaro, who said that the bill will affect approximately 1.2 million households in the city.

As to cost, he said that while a biofuel heating oil blend runs more than standard heating oil, a requirement would bring down the price via economies of scale.

“Once we do this and make a mandate, then everyone will have to do it, and the price will come down,” Mr. Gennaro said.

Biofuel blends can cost as much as 20 cents per gallon more than standard heating oil, though in his executive budget unveiled yesterday, Governor Spitzer proposed a subsidy that would make it more competitive.

 

Council Could Require Biodiesel to Heat Buildings [UPDATED]