Heating Oil Prices Decline Slightly as Future Demand Fluctuates

December 11, 2012

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) is conducting its weekly fuel price survey for this year’s heating season. On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil is $3.64 per gallon, down three cents from last week’s price survey. The average price for propane, in quantities used for heating, is unchanged from last week. Propane prices remain lower than this time a year ago.

According Bloomberg News, several factors operating simultaneously may continue to impact prices consumers are paying for heating fuel. Weak economic growth in Europe, and the impending ‘fiscal cliff’ in the US may decrease demand in the short term, thereby reducing prices. In addition, the National Intelligence Council released a report today that predicts rising domestic oil production from hydraulic fracturing (called fracking) may limit OPEC’s future ability to set worldwide oil prices. See Fracking Seen Robbing OPEC of Gasoline Pricing Power - Bloomberg The advisory panel also states that environmental impacts are the primary obstacle to long term use of this drilling technology.

Using this week’s average heating oil price and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is at $26.25. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $17.00 (at $1.70/therm); propane, $30.00 (at $2.74/gallon); wood pellets, $14.48 (at $239/ton); and cord wood, $10.50 (at $210/cord). The GEO has a calculator on its web site that allows consumers to estimate home heating costs and price impacts of various energy sources. See http://www.maine.gov/energy/index.html

As of December 11, 2012


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.64

3.59

3.71

3.63

3.56

3.78

High

4.00

4.00

3.85

3.85

3.72

3.80

Low

3.15

3.35

3.50

3.35

3.15

3.75

Kerosene

4.08

4.03

4.15

4.07

4.05

4.18

  Propane

2.74

 

 

 

 

 

It is important to note that the price for heating oil is a statewide average, and that prices in a given geographic region of the state may be considerably higher or lower than this average. Within the Energy Office sample, the lowest actual heating oil price of $3.15 per gallon was recorded in one region of the state. The highest price of $4.00 per gallon was also reported in only one region. The average statewide kerosene price is $4.08 per gallon, a decrease of four cents from last week. The statewide average price for propane based on a use of at least 900 gallons a year is $2.74 per gallon. The table above provides current Maine cash prices in dollars rounded to the nearest penny.

Efficiency Maine links Maine homeowners and businesses with qualified, certified contractors who provide access to energy improvement options. For program details call 866-376-2463 or visit www.efficiencymaine.com.

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For Immediate Release

Contact:
Lisa Smith
(207) 624-7445
lisa.j.smith@maine.gov