PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine environmental officials say ultra-low sulfur heating oil will burn cleaner and lower heating costs.

The Portland Press Herald reports the state switched to the oil in July following extensive planning. According to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the new fuel will cut sulfur dioxide emissions by about 1,300 tons a year. Homeowners are expected to save on annual cleaning costs for equipment as well.

The switch comes as oil loses its hold on the heating market in Maine. More homes are converting to gas and electric heat pumps.

Maine Energy Marketers Association President Jamie Py says the industry needed to make the transition to ultra-low sulfur heating oil to remain competitive.

New York switched to the new fuel in 2012.

(Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com)

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