Heating Fuel Prices Creep Upward As Consumption Increases, Northeast Refinery Closes

January 29, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Tuesday, January 29, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $3.74 per gallon, up two cents from last week’s price survey. The average kerosene price decreased one cent, to $4.14 per gallon. Propane prices increased only one cent from last week, to $2.73 per gallon. Propane prices continue to be much lower than last year.

Heating oil prices are trending upward as economic optimism fuels increased demand for crude oil, both domestically and internationally Oil at Four-Month High as Durable Goods Orders Increase - Bloomberg; http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-28/oil-trades-near-four-month-high-as-opec-sees-no-price-collapse.html

In the US, orders for durable goods increased last month. This optimistic economic signal was echoed abroad, as indicators of increased economic activity and consumer confidence have been noted in Germany, South Korea, and Australia. All these indicators increase demand for oil, which pushes up prices. In the Northeast, an increase in heating oil prices may also be due to the news of another refinery closing. Hess Corp. announced yesterday it would close its refinery operations in New Jersey at the end of February.

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.74) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $26.97. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $17.00 (at $1.70/therm); propane, $29.89 (at $2.73/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.

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 29, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.74

3.68

3.78

3.75

3.73

3.85

High

4.20

3.80

3.95

3.90

4.20

3.86

Low

3.53

3.53

3.65

3.53

3.53

3.85

Kerosene

4.14

4.15

4.26

4.21

4.07

3.85

  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 $3.53 per gallon was recorded in three regions of the state. The highest price of $4.20 per gallon was reported in only one region. Also, the statewide average price for propane is based on a use of at least 900 gallons a year. Households using propane just for cooking or hot water may pay a higher per gallon price. 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