Heating Oil Prices Hold Steady for Present; Price of Crude Oil Continues Upward Trend

January 2, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) is conducting its weekly heating fuel price survey for this year’s heating season. On Wednesday, January 3, 2013, the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil is $3.65 per gallon, up one cent since last week’s price survey. The average price for propane declined another two cents last week, consistently remaining much lower than this time a year ago.

Bloomberg News reported today that crude oil (West Texas Intermediate, or WTI) traded at the highest price since mid-September, largely due to the last minute passage of a US budget bill http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-02/oil-rises-to-three-month-high-as-u-s-passes-budget-bill.html The legislation reversed scheduled income tax increases for most Americans, seen as crucial to prevent the US from falling back into recession. Optimism about the economy increased demand for oil futures, driving up prices.

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 $26.32. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $17.00 (at $1.70/therm); propane, $29.45 (at $2.69/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 January 2, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.65

3.63

3.63

3.68

3.60

3.79

High

3.88

3.75

3.85

3.88

3.77

3.80

Low

3.40

3.47

3.40

3.45

3.45

3.75

Kerosene

4.11

4.09

4.17

4.11

4.06

4.19

  Propane

2.69

 

 

 

 

 

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 $3.40 per gallon was recorded in only one region of the state. Likewise, the highest price of $3.88 per gallon was also reported in only one region. The average statewide kerosene price is $4.11 per gallon, up two cents from last week. The statewide average price for propane based on a use of at least 900 gallons a year is $2.69 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