Heating Fuel Prices Continue to Climb as Oil Consumption is Expected to Increase, OPEC Production Decreases

February 5, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $3.76 per gallon, up two cents from last week’s price survey. The average kerosene price jumped to $4.24 per gallon, up ten cents from last week. The average statewide propane price, however, fell one cent from last week, to $2.72 per gallon.

For the first time in three years, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts oil consumption will rise in 2013 as a result of improved economic conditions compared to recent years. A positive economic outlook for the US, coupled with a decline in output by OPEC, and improving economies in Europe, has pushed oil prices up for the eighth straight week, a trend not seen since 2004. Crude oil prices are already up 5.3% this year. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-04/hedge-funds-racing-oil-refiners-to-100-a-barrel-energy-markets.html Unfortunately, this all means higher heating costs for Maine households.

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.76) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $27.11. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $17.00 (at $1.70/therm); propane, $29.78 (at $2.72/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 February 5, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.76

3.71

3.82

3.79

3.70

3.86

High

4.00

3.85

4.00

3.96

3.89

3.88

Low

3.53

3.58

3.65

3.58

3.53

3.85

Kerosene

4.24

4.22

4.31

4.25

4.18

4.26

  Propane

2.72

 

 

 

 

 

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 only the Western region of the state. Likewise, the highest price of $4.00 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