Heating Oil Prices Hold Steady amid Speculation on US Budget Deal

December 18, 2012

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) is conducting its weekly heating fuel price survey for this year’s heating season. On Tuesday, December 18, 2012, the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil is $3.64 per gallon, unchanged from last week’s price survey. The average price for propane follows a similar trend; in quantities used for heating, the price declined by only1cent from last week.

This morning’s Bloomberg News discusses a slight upward trend in the WTI crude price (West Texas Intermediate, which is domestically produced oil) due to progress in US budget negotiations http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-18/oil-advances-a-third-day-amid-optimism-on-u-s-budget-agreement.html Speculation that negotiations are progressing to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’ was also reflected in February delivery prices, which also increased slightly.

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); cord wood, $10.50 (at $210/cord) and electricity, $43.96 (at 15 cents per kwh). The electricity cost is for traditional baseboard heat. Electric heat pumps, a recent technological advancement, are much more efficient, so total energy costs are lower than oil, kerosene, or propane (see Efficiency Maine below).

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 18, 2012


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.64

3.60

3.71

3.64

3.57

3.78

High

4.00

4.00

3.85

3.88

3.72

3.80

Low

3.35

3.35

3.50

3.35

3.35

3.75

Kerosene

4.08

4.05

4.16

4.04

4.04

4.18

  Propane

2.73

 

 

 

 

 

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 $3.35 per gallon was recorded in three regions 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, also unchanged from last week. The statewide average price for propane based on a use of at least 900 gallons a year is $2.73 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, including installation of efficient electric heat pumps. 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