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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 sector and commercial sector heating oil consumption occurs in the New England and the Central Atlantic regions (PDF) of the country. In 2012, New York became the first state to require ultra-low sulfur heating oil (ULSHO)—heating oil to have a sulfur content of 15 parts per million or less. Delaware and New Jersey transitioned to OLSHO in 2016, and all six New England states transitioned to ULSHO on July 1, 2018.

Last updated: October 11, 2019