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It's Official — Dirty No. 4 Fuel Oil Is on the Way Out

New York City

No. 4 fuel oil ban, Local Law 97, greenhouse gas emissions, co-op and condo boards.
March 24, 2023

As expected, Mayor Eric Adams has signed a bill that speeds up the city's ban on No. 4 heating oil, the dirtiest fuel in use in the city today. The new law, sponsored by Council Member James Gennaro (D-Queens), bans the burning of No. 4 oil in boilers in city-owned buildings after July 1, 2025, and for all other boilers after July 1, 2027. City officials would be prohibited from issuing or renewing building permits for the fuel as of June 30, 2024. The city had originally planned to ban the fuel by 2030

"No. 4 heating oil adds about 120,000 pounds of lung-damaging fine particulate matter into the air," Gennaro says. "It also contains 100 times more sulfur than fuel No. 2."

Property owners found in violation, including co-op and condo boards, can face up to $10,000 in fines. The city estimates that 72% of buildings that still use No. 4 oil are located in northern Manhattan and the Bronx.

The burning of fuel oils, especially No. 4, poses significant health risks, including asthma and an increased likelihood of heart disease, cancer, and premature death. Switching to a cleaner fuel source, such as natural gas or renewable energy, not only helps reduce these harmful emissions and improve the air quality in buildings but also provides other benefits such as lower operating costs, increased property value and a reduced carbon footprint.

Speeding up the ban of No. 4 oil by three years is part of the city's ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. The ban is also in line with the requirements of Local Law 97 of 2019, which sets emissions caps for large buildings in New York City, including co-ops and condos, and requires them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by specific amounts, beginning in 2024. By transitioning to a cleaner fuel source, building owners subject to Local Law 97 can effectively work towards meeting emissions reduction requirements.

After July 1, 2027, the only heating fuels allowed in New York City will be ultra-low-sulfur No. 2 oil, biodiesel and natural gas.

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