Still use heating oil? Mayor wants you to stop

The city estimates up to 18,000 Seattle homes still use oil heat, and just announced a plan to try to reduce that number. From the announcement just sent:

To help combat the global climate crisis and fulfill a key commitment of Seattle’s 2018 Seattle Climate Strategy, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced today her plan to speed up the conversion of Seattle’s homes that burn oil for heat to cleaner electric heating.

Oil heat is the least efficient, most expensive, and most polluting form of home heating in Seattle. Converting Seattle homes to highly efficient electric heat pumps is another step to help Seattle become carbon neutral by 2050.

Mayor Durkan is transmitting legislation to City Council that if enacted would 1) impose a tax on heating oil starting July 1, 2020 on heating oil providers and 2) a requirement for heating oil tank owners to decommission or upgrade all existing underground oil tanks by 2028. Revenue from the tax will provide rebates and grants for Seattle homeowners to energy efficient electric heat pumps. ..

The tax of $0.24/gallon will fund rebates and grants for nearly 3,000 households to help them make the switch. Low-income homeowners will be fully refunded for the upgrade costs; approximately 1,000 low-income households are estimated to be eligible for a fully funded conversion. …

There are as many as 18,000 oil-heated homes in the City of Seattle. Converting those homes to clean electricity is expected to reduce Seattle’s climate emissions by 433,000 metric tons over 10 years. That is the equivalent of taking nearly 90,000 passenger cars off the road for a year. …

A typical 500-gallon oil tank costs a household $1,700 per year. An electric heat pump is more than twice as efficient as an oil furnace and a conversion from oil would save the average household about $850 every year compared to oil heat systems.

Most of Seattle’s oil heat tanks were installed between the 1920s and 1950s and are now an increasing liability as the steel tanks deteriorate, causing oil to leak and damage soil, property, and potentially ground water.

City of Seattle departments including Office of Sustainability and Environment, Seattle Fire Department and Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, will be directed to develop the criteria and plan for old oil tanks by July 1, 2020.

In addition to supporting conversion to energy efficient heat pumps, the proposed legislation also supports workforce development for workers in the oil heating industry. A portion of the tax revenue will support workforce training and business planning support for affected heating oil service providers.

72 Replies to "Still use heating oil? Mayor wants you to stop"

  • coffeedude August 6, 2019 (2:03 pm)

    Too bad this is not available for people who live outside the city limits.  I would love assistance to remove mine.

    • WSB August 6, 2019 (2:07 pm)

      Send your county councilmember a message saying you’d support something similar (assuming you live in unincorp KC)! The people who owned our house before us had the foresight to convert – about 30 years ago! – but still left us with a buried “decommissioned” tank out in the yard; we paid to have it dug up and removed long ago.

    • Karena August 6, 2019 (3:04 pm)

      You might call Puget power. They may have a program to help with this

    • Richard Simpson August 7, 2019 (8:20 am)

      I am an environmental consultant in the business for 30 years and I want to let people know a few facts. 1) Anyone using oil heat MUST make sure you sign up for the free Pollution Liability Insurance through your oil provider or through PLIAs website. This will pay up to $60, 000 to characterize and remediate releases of heating oil to the environment. 2) If your tank is out of service (if you switch over to another heating source) you only have 30 days to act). After the 30 days the insurance lapses.3) Many tanks reported as decommissioned may have a pyramid of sand under the fill pipe inside the tank often times mixed with oil. 4) Heating oil tanks are not regulated tanks, however releases to soil and especially groundwater technically fall under regulations.5) If you plan on selling your home, do not wait to pull your tanks. If theres soil contamination found it could extend the sale by months and even kill a sale. Service providers are very busy, so expect to be out at least a few weeks. 6)Heating oil (diesel) is not a hazardous waste. That’s a special category. But vapors can get into your building under certain conditions.

  • Chuck August 6, 2019 (2:19 pm)

    Typical liberal answer to everything: tax, tax, tax. I LOVE my oil heat and am not about to change, taxed or not. The cost of installing gas (I’m the middle of three houses and it is NOT convenient to reach me) is a non-starter. Grrrr. This is the same kind of crap Seattle City Light did when they made it mandatory to install smart meters (dangerous technology as anyone who has done the research knows); I had to pay EXTRA to opt out, as well as a monthly surcharge ongoing. I will never pay their $125 (non) installation fee, the crooks. And they’ve never installed a new analog meter as promised, either. This whole city is just Tax, Tax, Tax. Show me something new, Durken! 

    • B August 6, 2019 (3:39 pm)

      So,  no care for your neighbors who have to breathe your heating oil pollution, to say nothing of global warming? There’s nothing “liberal” about this. You’re using old technology that sucks – it’s wasteful, expensive, polluting, you name it. Now, when it comes time to deal with it, we could:- just outlaw it- come up with some kind of transition plan to help you move off itAnd DING DING guess what, we chose option #2, taxing ME to help YOU get with the times.  In many jurisdictions, they’ll go with #1, leaving it 100% on you to fix. You’re welcome.

      • Chuck August 7, 2019 (10:42 am)

        Global warming is the greatest fraud ever pushed upon the gullible masses. It is a lie, created to further enslave us with never ending taxes. Wake up! Have you ever seen the mansion that Al Gore lives in? Do as I say, not as I do. Inconvenient truth, indeed. Our “leaders” lie to us at every turn. Earth is going through its natural cycles of warming/cooling. And we are actually in a cooling cycle but don’t let that fact get in the way of your indignation, either. That’s not to say that human pollution should be curbed when possible. But the eruption of a single volcano spews more CO2 than humans ever will. / So yeah, until the city wants to pay for the entire conversion of gas, keep your hands off my oil. 

    • Peter August 6, 2019 (4:27 pm)

      Ridiculous conspiracy theories aside, your refusal to take actions that would save you money and help save the planet out of vindictiveness towards “liberals” is illogical and irrational. 

      • Mike August 6, 2019 (5:29 pm)

        Save money?  Maybe over 15+ years.  We had a quote a couple y  ears ago and with the government rebates it would cost us $13,500+ to convert to a heat pump, that didn’t include decommissioning our 300gal tank.  I’d love to switch to a heat pump, but financially it isn’t feasible.  All Seattle residential oil heating is not even a fraction of a percentage point in emissions over an entire year compared to a single cargo ship coming into port in Seattle.  Think about why Durkan is pushing so hard on this.  Who are her donors?

        • Peter August 7, 2019 (9:53 am)

          Yes, of course, it’s all a political conspiracy. *eyeroll* It makes me very angry when people point to other polluters as a way to absolve themselves of the pollution they cause. It’s like when SUV drivers do things like blame cargo ships and office buildings as a way to excuse their own wasteful and polluting lifestyle choices. No, the fact that other people also pollute does not in any way at all absolve you of the damage you are doing to the environment.

          • Mike August 7, 2019 (9:21 pm)

            Julien LohDirectorPuget Sound EnergyGave $495 to Durkan’s campaign.  The cap is $500.  Nothing to see here, move along…..

        • Chuck August 7, 2019 (10:49 am)

          Exactly, Mike. Follow the money. You can be sure WA Natural Gas or the like is pushing for this. Criminal. 

          • Also John August 7, 2019 (8:44 pm)

            I have a heat pump and it cost $5,700 to purchase and have installed.  Heat pumps are electric not gas.  Washington Natural Gas has nothing to do with it.  I truly doubt that our mayor is working in the dark with a manufacturer or energy provider for heat pumps……

        • Frank Mighetto August 8, 2019 (11:03 am)

          Did not know about huge impact of Port Seattle shipping?  The city is subsidizing the port. The mayor should support eliminating our Port of Seattle taxes until ship and airplane carbon pollution are addressed before remaking homes designed for oil heat or worse scraping them from the ground and replacing them with steel concrete duplexes and towers. The carbon pollution of non wood structures is high and even higher if the wood structure removed is not recycled. Hey why isn’t that recycling required? What about cruise ships? Did the mayor consider any of this?

    • Lagartija Nick August 6, 2019 (5:12 pm)

      When your oil tank eventually starts leaking and you’re out tens of thousands of dollars in reclamation costs and fees, will you still be happy to have stuck it to the “libs”? 

    • DH August 6, 2019 (5:13 pm)

      You don’t have to get natural gas. It’s actually better not to switch from one fossil fuel to another. Gas isn’t all that clean really. A heat pump is expensive it’s true but it heats almost as well as my oil heat did AND I get AC. It was a hard decision for me because I had a really good oil furnace that would likely had outlived me but I hated burning diesel gasoline (same thing as heat oil)  to heat my house. As we get more of these hot days I’m happy to be able to live in part of my house I could barely tolerate before. My bills are a lot less with the heat pump but with the cost of switching it will be a while till I break even. 

      • Greg August 7, 2019 (9:19 am)

        I did the math on a minimal heat pump solution (assuming high oil prices), and I wouldn’t break even for 36 years over my heating oil solution. The numbers for buying new and shiny technology for heating a small space simply can’t overcome the cost. Thus, there’s economic (and environmental) value for using an existing heating solution for its intended lifespan.

    • dftl August 6, 2019 (8:17 pm)

      Chuck, “dangerous technology”? Similar to your cell phone, wi-fi router, Bluetooth devices, etc.? I can make a tinfoil hat for you to protect you from the cosmic rays.

      • Chuck August 7, 2019 (10:47 am)

        Laugh all you want. Study the REAL reasons behind 5G. Hint: It ain’t so you can download movies faster. Another hint: you know all those chemtrails in the sky that you think are just ice CONtrails? They are full of aluminum that get into our bodies by breathing, and into our very food. Ever seen aluminum in a microwave? Yeah, that’s your government at work. / Wake up folks! You are nothing but chattle to the powers that be. You know what happens when you get sick? Big Pharma is only too happy to sell you the cure. That’s what its’a all about. Wringing the ever-last dollar out of us, for the All Powerful Corporations. / And that’s the thing about uncomfortable truths. They’re uncomfortable. / Enjoy your grazing. 

    • Manderley August 7, 2019 (7:18 am)

      The nanny state is alive and well in Seattle.  We know more than you and we will tell you how to live.

    • dhg August 7, 2019 (9:54 am)

      Chuck:  As one who switched from oil to natural gas a few years ago, let me tell you the results:  1.  They ran the gas line from the street to the side of my house using an underground device that did not dig up the yard.  I’m thinking the fact that your house is between other houses will still mean it’s possible to run the line without bothering your neighbors.2.  I’ve saved a lot of money.  I was paying about $2400/yr for oil.  I’m now paying about $300 /yr for natural gas and changing out the electric water heater to gas has cut my electric bill by half.

    • Wolf Lichtenstein August 7, 2019 (3:56 pm)

      Actually, this tax is encouraging you to switch from heating oil to electric heat, not to natural gas. Heat pumps are incredibly efficient, and are able to cool your home in the summer, as well as heat it in the winter for a lot less money. Switching to natural gas is not a a way to address climate change, if this is your motivation to switch away from your oil heat. The heating oil switch over to electric and then the switch from natural gas to electric is paramount to combating climate change. Home and commercial use of these fossil fuels is about 25% of Seattle’s carbon emissions. I’m not sure that a tax, however, is the best way to motivate. I wish there was other sources of funding to help fund a positive reinforcement to make the switch, instead of a tax as a negative incentive to not make the switch. What would it take for Chuck and others who feel like him to switch out their heating oil? Instead of railing against another tax – given that home heating oil is no long acceptable in the face of global warming, what would it take home owners to switch to electric?Federal cooperation through a New Green Deal could provide funding – till then, it seems we’re on our own to find solutions. What’s your’s?

  • cjboffoli August 6, 2019 (2:38 pm)

    The commercial business next to my house used to bathe us in exhaust all winter. The second I set foot out my front door or on my rooftop deck I was hit with a strong smell of unburned petroleum distillates. Then a couple of years ago they spontaneously switched to a super-efficient electric heat pump and it has been clean breathing (and quiet operation) ever since.  Such a terrific change. I’m glad the city has a climate strategy. But I wish they’d do more about air quality in general beyond the “carbon footprint.” 

  • BG August 6, 2019 (2:54 pm)

    Keep in mind that some insurance companies will not cover your home if you have a decommissioned heating oil tank on your property.  Does not matter if you have a certificate showing it was done properly. We had to shop around to find a company that would cover our house.

  • Kathy August 6, 2019 (3:06 pm)

    This should be done on a nationwide basis as well. Our 1940 vintage octopus furnace once burnt sawdust, coal and finally heating oil. The tank and furnace were removed 9 years ago in favor of 3 geothermal wells and a heat pump. Not a cheap way to go but there was a rebate and it should payback this year vs. a new gas system.  Excess heat from the ground preheats the water in the heater to 70 degrees, we now have A/C, and the underground basement is also heated. Not sure what the payback would be versus an air source heat pump, but the maintenance on geothermal systems is supposed to be quite a bit lower.

  • Person August 6, 2019 (3:27 pm)

    We just put in a heat pump and decommissioned our oil tank. I agree that I kind of liked having oil. It’s fast, hot, and won’t explode like gas. We don’t have gas to our house anyway so that wasn’t really an option. I am really liking the the heat pump though. Yay AC! However, to get a machine that is allowed within the city limits is not cheap up front. I do believe our bills will be lower though  and can’t wait to get some data to see how we are doing.i don’t mind the tax, but wish there was more of an upfront and substantial rebate.

  • GeneseeHill August 6, 2019 (3:38 pm)

    What the mayor is proposing isn’t really a rebate. Since the tax will only hit people who already use oil, it is essentially making those people pay in advance for the costs of replacing the system.  There is absolutely no positive incentive for them to switch – just the punishment of higher taxes.I actually don’t mind paying taxes for the common good.  If the Mayor and the City Council really think this is a common good, then they should tax ALL Seattle ratepayers. Many people just don’t have good options: gas lines are unevenly distributed and heat pumps/geothermal wells generally take a long time to pay for themselves. I’m a big believer in renewable energy – I put solar on my roof 4 years ago – but to me, this proposal simply says that Mayor Jenny is not serious about this program.

  • admiral parent August 6, 2019 (3:50 pm)

    Banning new oil tanks is one thing, but I wonder about the legality of this forced switch from existing tanks. Typically if a property is built to the code that existed at the time, all is good, and it only needs to be brought up to code if it’s substantially renovated. The exception being if there is a public health hazard, which is how some cities have been able to force older apartment buildings to earthquake retrofit. 

    • cjboffoli August 6, 2019 (5:23 pm)

      Admiral Parent:  Lots of precedents already have been set with other municipalities around the country forcing a ban on coal furnaces and coal burning fireplaces which for centuries bespoiled the air, land and water with mercury-laden soot. I mean, it would be awfully nice if citizens didn’t have to be ‘forced’ to do anything. But there is such a lack of collectivism in our society that I guess that is what it comes to.

  • TF August 6, 2019 (3:59 pm)

    WSB you should include a link to the existing program form the Seattle Office of Sustainability for residents  No More Oil Heat, Seattle residents can get a $1,500.00 rebate for switching from oil to a heat pump.Also, worth noting is Seattle Office of Housing’s HomeWise program, which offers free energy efficiency upgrades like home weatherization or replacement of an oil furnace with a heat pump for Seattle Residents (including renters) on a pretty generousness income scale. For example a home with 3 residents qualifies if the total income of the household is under $72,250 per year for home owners and under $54,150 if the residents rent the home.

    • WSB August 6, 2019 (4:05 pm)

      I would have if the news release had mentioned it! (All I omitted was some superfluous quotes.) Will check on those.

  • MJ August 6, 2019 (4:08 pm)

    Enough taxes already.  Oil heat is already expensive, I had oil heat for years and know first hand.  

  • waikikigirl August 6, 2019 (4:27 pm)

    We installed a gas furnace/heat pump and a on demand tankless water heater a few years ago and love it. I’m not saying it didn’t cost us an arm and leg to install it but the benefits from it are great…least in my eyes. We have a 2300 SF home and our gas bill for a 12 month period (Aug. to Aug)=$290.00 and electricity = $1103.00 is that a lot??? Like other have mentioned it would be nice if it was State wide and not just City of Seattle.

  • Chris August 6, 2019 (4:48 pm)

    We hope there will be help for this as we looked into converting and did not have the money to do so.   Our oil tank is above ground though.  Extremely concerned.   Please don’t chew us up because we did not have the money to do this YET.

  • Chris August 6, 2019 (4:49 pm)

    Oh, ps…..our oil company does use a cleaner solution than regular oil.   We cannot recall the name of it so that helps.

  • AMD August 6, 2019 (4:55 pm)

    The one home I ever lived in with oil heat was a rental.  So under this program, the owner wouldn’t be low enough income to get the replacement for free, and has no incentive NOT to just let the tenant eat the extra taxes because he doesn’t want to pay to convert (they’d be added to the oil bill, which most tenants pay themselves).  Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s great the city is helping people get away from awful oil tanks, but it would be nice if there were some kind of stipulation that made a quick conversion more attractive to landlords.

  • Graciano August 6, 2019 (5:11 pm)

    At my old house, Washington Natural Gas wanted $2500 to run a gas ling to my house.., Said it ends 200′ north of me.  My new house has gas, I pay more in base service charges.. then the gas it’s self.

  • Arbor Heights Dude August 6, 2019 (5:20 pm)

    I would love to switch, but the rebates that are available now are not substantial enough.  The above mentioned rebates would need to be significantly more for the annual savings to pencil out in the next decade.

  • The King August 6, 2019 (5:44 pm)

    Just like the sugar tax was imposed to make people healthier, it generated six million more dollars than predicted. Which the mayor tried to shuffle into the slush fund after going to war with the city council over it. So obviously making people healthier isn’t working but they’re happy to take your money and then tell people involved with the sugar tax money projects the money isn’t there. Taxes aren’t the answer. 

  • jack August 6, 2019 (6:25 pm)

    I suppose Natural Gas is next.

    • Michael J Swartz August 6, 2019 (8:09 pm)

      I remember in the 80s it was a push to have people use less electricity, because hydroelectric damns are not good for the environment and adding more was/is bad.  But out of sight, out of mind, right?  Salmon, pshhh, who needs those, right Orcas? Let’s develop the crap out of the shorelines, divert waterflows, it’s okay…oh, wait… we destroyed our natural habitat?  Out of sight, out of mind, as long as I can get a bumper sticker for my Prius that has a massive toxic battery which uses graphene mined in Russia with zero ecological restrictions, it’s okay!

      • Jethro Marx August 7, 2019 (9:09 am)

        Batteries have a serious manufacturing footprint, and the jury is sort of still deliberating on an electric car’s lifetime or per mile carbon footprint, but the legendary graphene is certainly not the culprit. Graphene is pure carbon in a sort of 2-dimensional form, and it’s not in most batteries, nor is it mined. You may be thinking of Lithium or Cadmium I suppose.

  • Millie August 6, 2019 (7:58 pm)

    This is another attempt to extract more money from the taxpayers.  How can it be a rebate when it comes from collected tax dollars.  Rather than  come up  with half-baked ideas as to how homeowners (who pay for buying, maintaining and paying property taxes) can part with more of their hard-earned dollars.  I would really appreciate the City of Seattle and our elected officials completing the projects promised from already approved levies  (roads, libraries, transit and so forth) on-budget and on-time.    Our neighborhoods have lost their identities through density and “urban villages”,  our roads are congested (not necessarily due to cars) but lack of engineering  foresight,  transit (whether bus, streetcar,  rail) is not improving congestion due to road construction or traffic routing issues.Enough is enough – this is neither a “Liberal” or “Conservative” issue – just plain too many dictates from City Hall.

  • No cool aide August 6, 2019 (8:12 pm)

    Drill Baby Drill!

    • GREG CHAPPELL August 7, 2019 (9:21 am)

      New refrain under this program: Frack, baby, frack!

  • admiral parent August 6, 2019 (8:13 pm)

    For those that have made the switch from oil to heat pump, can you give more details about your conversion? Central heat pump or ductless? Air source or geothermal? Upfront cost? How’s the noise level of the compressor?I looked into switching to gas a couple years ago and PGE wanted around 6k just to get the line from the street to the side of my house. Still would need interior gas plumbing and all new appliances. I also looked into a heat pump but with a narrow lot, there wasn’t room for it. Regs limit how close they can be to property lines. So I still have oil, lol.

    • AMD August 6, 2019 (8:55 pm)

      If you’re really looking into the nitty-gritty of switching heat sources, I’ll share something I wish I’d known BEFORE we switched.  Oil furnaces are smaller than gas.  And smaller than some heat pump components.  Just by a few inches, but those few inches made it so we needed to move a wall to install the gas furnace we chose (standard oil furnaces are 22″ deep while most gas furnaces are 27″ deep).  You’re probably fine, but it’s worth measuring your unit before choosing it if you’re tight on space.

    • DH August 6, 2019 (10:50 pm)

      I got my house about 7 years ago and got an estimate for a heat pump.  They said due to the noise I’d have to place the outside unit in the middle of my yard to the rear. A poor place since that is where the house could very easily expand if desired. They also said I’d need to replace the air ducts. I opted for insulation and air sealing.Three years ago a small rebate came up. All were willing to place the pump on the side of the house where I wanted. No complaint from my neighbors in 3 years and I can’t hear it from my bedroom as threatened originally. Also no suggestion to replace the ducts. The heat pump works almost as well as my old furnace  using the original air ducts plus I get AC.It was very expensive, about $16,000 total including the oil tank decommissioning.  I pay way less for energy than before but it will be a while to break even but if I were to sell earlier it will be a selling point vs a oil heater. I’m glad I did it despite the financial pain. 

  • KR August 6, 2019 (8:21 pm)

    If the mayor wants to do this, she needs to discuss the incentives with PSE and SCL in addition to the home wise program. PSE and SCL energy incentives explicitly exclude home served by oil heat. Those exclusions included the insulation rebates, window rebates, air sealing rebates in addition to the heating equipment itself. $1500 is a drop in the bucket when it comes to decommissioning the tank. Washington energy services said it would be about$15k to do their part but that didn’t include the $3k ballpark just for decommissioning.Instead of a penalty, work with the utilities to incentivize the switch. That might actually work. I’d love to stop paying out the nose for oil. 

  • Concerned neighbor August 6, 2019 (8:25 pm)

    Our average cost per year to heat our house has been about $800/year with our oil furnace the last several years (with small children). I would like to know what her $1700/year is based on? And, there isn’t any smell when it is on. I see more output from our neighbor’s gas furnace. If you have a small property, a heat pump isn’t exactly an easy solution. Plus, we could be looking at $30K to transition to another solution. Perhaps Mayor Durkan would be willing to offer free (quality) preschool in exchange?

    • Guy Olson August 6, 2019 (9:41 pm)

      Should have pulled out.

  • Old friend August 6, 2019 (8:38 pm)

    To give an idea of costs I just converted our house from 20 yr old electric furnace to high efficiency gas furnace. Cost approximately $7,000 and 6 month lead time for PSE to install meter. PSE did a TON of work for the $500 permit / installation fee and got $300 rebate from them for installing. Electric dropped dramatically saving lots of money.  The intention with proposal is good however  I feel for renters that are going to get stuck paying tax- they’re getting short end of stick. Renter pays tax while Property owner gets rebate if they replace.. “rob Peter to pay Paul”

  • Jort August 6, 2019 (10:28 pm)

    Jenny “I LOVE Cars” Durkan once again wants to look like she cares about carbon emissions. Don’t be fooled. In reality, she doesn’t care about global warming, because she won’t do a single thing to reduce car driving. Home heating oil accounts for ONE (1) PERCENT of the city’s carbon emissions, and it has declined by 80 percent since 1990. Personal, private cars account for 27 percent of the city’s emissions, and that number is growing. Jenny Durkan would rather create new taxes and complicated government programs to reduce one of Seattle’s already smallest contributors to global climate change because, in reality, she is actively working to destroy our planet by making Seattle a “cars first, cars always” city. Shame on Jenny Durkan’s political posturing.

    • Gene August 7, 2019 (7:56 am)

      Just another anti-car rant from Jort-

    • Rumbles August 7, 2019 (8:02 am)

      Hey Jort,Can you post a link to where you got your statistics please?  Thanks!

  • Jimmy August 6, 2019 (10:36 pm)

    I am in full agreement with helping Seattle residents convert from old, wasteful, expensive and importantly – polluting oil heat. However this seems to be a regressive tax that would hit hardest Seattle’s lower income residents in older homes. I realize the article states low income homeowners would be compensated for conversion but what about renters?As a renter in a home with oil heat this is particularly frustrating as we already pay the high oil bills ($350+/month in the winter on a 650 square foot home) and have no say in whether or not our home heating gets upgraded.I would happily pay an extra $50/month to offset fossil fuel emissions but in our case that money isn’t going to help resolve this issue for us.I want to move away from fossil fuels. I would like to see the city step up and take care of this in a way that supports the effort of improving housing affordability and not disproportionately  penalizing low income residents.

  • Bradley August 7, 2019 (1:34 am)

    I have three 55-gallon drums, a pickup truck,  and a pump so I’ll just buy heating oil in 165-gallon increments outside of Seattle and pump it into the 300-gallon tank. Durkan loves to tax what’s left of Seattle’s middle class into bankruptcy. She needs to go.

  • anonyme August 7, 2019 (6:50 am)

    Durkan has finally come up with a sensible plan. 

  • Money tree August 7, 2019 (9:02 am)


  • Cpeterson August 7, 2019 (9:20 am)

    Why is there no mention of bio oil? We have heating oil now and can switch to bio oil with a small upgrade to our furnace $400 cost (our oil tank is new, bio oil works best with newer furnaces and oil tanks). Genesse Oil let me know that even if we were to switch to a 50/50 blend of bio/hating oil, the carbon footprint is smaller than natural gas. So, overall, a new oil furnace (if you need one) to burn bio oil is around $6k. Converting to natural gas $15k (new lines etc). Bio oil is clearly an easy solution for those with oil tanks. Just surprised it isn’t mentioned 

    • Bradley August 7, 2019 (12:47 pm)

      We use 100% bio oil. It shouldn’t be taxed under any plan. I’m sure there’s a way to have it delivered without paying this ridiculous tax which is discriminatory against the middle-class. I can buy my own outside of Seattle and transport it myself if need be.

      • August 8, 2019 (10:50 am)

        Very good point. Anyone with a diesel fueled boat can avoid the tax by bringing fuel purchased from elsewhere and jerry canning it home. Most in Seattle boat. This is a no brainer for some conservative voters.But I think most who live in Seattle want to help meet goals and will use electric heat more and oil/gas less if educated and asked to. If forced to, well 18000 homes have enough voters to change government. We let lawns go brown,  have rain gardens and recycle, don’t we? Are we not doing our part? Let’s see City government do something reasonable. The Mayor should reduce the city’s carbon foot print by restricting air travel. Air travel to conferences, shows and meetings, likely is the biggest source of carbon pollution at the University of Washington and it likely is for the City government as well. 

  • Greg August 7, 2019 (9:22 am)

    My numbers were the same. These West Seattle houses built through the 50s were small and the numbers above seem to assume that we’re heating McMansions.

  • concerned resident August 7, 2019 (10:09 am)

    Heat pumps are very noisy! this issue needs to be addressed! WHAT ABOUT THE NOISE POLLUTION THEY CREATE! SDCI is suppose to do a Noise Review after one is installed.  GOOD LUCK to you if it fails……..

    • TSurly August 7, 2019 (1:03 pm)

      Any reputable HVAC contractor will know to install a unit that operates below the 55 dB requirement.

    • waikikgirl August 8, 2019 (11:36 am)

      All heat pumps are not noisy. Friends of ours got a “green” one installed a couple years back and you can’t even hear it running inside or outside their home, now ours it’s about 10 yrs old you can hear that bugger start up and run every time but it is not obnoxious. Least none of our neighbors have complained!

  • Jort August 7, 2019 (12:06 pm)

    Gladly! You can study up on the disastrous effects of Seattle’s automobiles on our global climate at this link: .    

  • Sarah August 7, 2019 (1:39 pm)

    I’d love to convert but it is simply too expensive.  My basic calcs showed a minimum of 10 years to pay off the cost of the system and I don’t even know that I’ll be in the same house.  So my guess is that me and most other people will just be paying the tax – and the city will not make its goal.  There needs to be substantial rebates for all, not just low income, to get large numbers of homes to change over.  

  • Frank Mighetto August 7, 2019 (4:01 pm)

    I am all for prohibition on new oil and gas installations. Ban both. But really? Can’t those of us with oil use biofuels? Did the Mayor forget that the city helped upgrade oil furnaces for efficiency and biofuels? What about using electric space heaters? We can all do that. Most of us already do that. The mayor is wrong on this. It harms 18,000 households, many on fixed and low incomes, who moderate their oil use with electric heat and sweaters.  Instead consider taxing steel and concrete construction which has a huge carbon footprint. We need to see wood structures as carbon sinks, rather than scrappers with oil furnaces. 

    • momosmom August 8, 2019 (11:28 am)

      Electric space heaters? WOW I just can’t imagine how much your electricity bill is every month!

      • Frank Mighetto August 10, 2019 (7:37 am)

        Seattle winters are usually mild. But occasionally we get snow. My point is – Seattle isn’t like most cities. Electricity is already inexpensive. and will be less expensive in the future owing to solar and wind generation. Older homes, where the furnace is the heart of the building design, can use electric heat as secondary and fill tanks when biofuel is inexpensive. Price conscious consumers will and currently do that. The Mayor is just plan wrong here. Removal of the biofuel furnace from a craftsman home should reduce the value of the home because the structure was designed specifically for it. Supplementing with a heat pump is better perhaps for efficiency but electric heaters are going to be the easy way of meeting carbon goals. Even easier- ban all new construction with oil and natural gas. Let’s do that.

  • JF August 16, 2019 (12:56 pm)

    If the city were really concerned about green house gas emissions they’d help everyone convert, not just “low income” people who likely don’t own their own home anyway. It’s just another wealth transfer program and like the soda tax, the city council and/or mayor will just try to change how they use the proceeds next year.

Sorry, comment time is over.