Heating Fuel Prices Increase Again, Straining Budgets of Maine Households

February 12, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, February 11, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil to be $3.83 per gallon, up seven cents from last week’s price survey. The average kerosene price also jumped six cents to $4.30 per gallon. Propane prices also increased, albeit less than heating oil and kerosene; this week’s statewide average propane price is $2.74 per gallon, two cents higher than a week ago.

Soaring heating fuel costs, accompanied by equally high gasoline and diesel prices, are straining Maine household budgets as a challenging heating season continues. While Maine’s average price is lower than residential home heating oil prices nationwide (last week, the average price nationwide was $4.06 per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), Mainers continue to have the highest percentage of homeowners who primarily rely on home heating oil. http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/heatingoilpropane/

These recent price increases draw attention to the plight of many Maine households relying on oil to heat their homes. And, according to Energy Office Director Patrick Woodcock, it underscores the importance of the Governor’s recent proposal to use current funding to help Mainers convert to less expensive heating options. http://bangordailynews.com/2013/02/08/news/state/lepage-wants-energy-price-cuts-in-exchange-for-maine-agreement-on-lower-emissions-cap/?ref=search “Many Maine households would jump at the chance to lower their energy costs and reduce their dependence on expensive oil, but cannot afford to convert their current heating systems. Mainers have more affordable energy options and that is exactly why the Governor has proposed utilizing RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) funding to assist with the upfront costs to assist with the investments in affordable heating conversions.”

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.83) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $27.62. 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 11, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.83

3.79

3.89

3.84

3.78

3.90

High

4.08

3.95

4.08

4.06

3.98

3.90

Low

3.60

3.65

3.70

3.60

3.60

3.90

Kerosene

4.30

4.30

4.36

4.27

4.26

4.30

  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 $3.60 per gallon was recorded in two regions of the state. Likewise, the highest price of $4.08 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