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Heating oil explained  

Heating oil is made from crude oil

Heating oil is a petroleum product refined from crude oil.

Heating oil and diesel fuel are closely related products called distillates. Heating oil is a distillate fuel sold mainly for use in boilers, furnaces, and water heaters.

A photograph of heating oil being delivered to a home

Heating oil delivery

Source: Stock photography (copyrighted)

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Heating oil is dyed red.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires heating oil and other distillate fuels that are not for highway use to be colored with a red dye. The red color identifies the fuel as exempt from the federal, state, and local taxes applied to fuels sold for use on public roadways and as illegal for use in vehicles that normally operate on roadways.

Most U.S. residential and commercial heating oil consumption occurs in the New England and the Central Atlantic regions (PDF) of the country. Several states in those regions have lowered or are lowering the allowable sulfur content of heating oil. Some of these reductions require heating oil to meet the same 15 parts per million sulfur content limit that diesel fuel must meet. (See the April 18, 2012 Today in Energy article).

Last updated: October 31, 2018