More of the Same – Heating Oil Prices Continue their Upward Climb

February 20, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil to be $3.85 per gallon, up two cents from last week’s price survey. The average kerosene price also increased two cents, to $4.32 per gallon. The average statewide propane price increased 4 cents, to $2.78 a gallon.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), it is a combination of a significant increase in crude oil prices, combined with some unexpected refinery outages in January, that is causing the sharp heating oil and gasoline price increases. Between mid- December and early February, Brent crude oil prices increased from $109 per barrel to $119 per barrel, equivalent to about $0.24 per gallon. The EIA does expect that crude oil prices will decline from this peak http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/report/us_oil.cfm . Today, the price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude oil prices declined for the first time in weeks, down approximately $2 per barrel to $94.51 and $115.78, respectively http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-20/wti-oil-narrows-discount-to-brent-on-seaway-flows.html .
This price decline was viewed as fallout from declining metal prices, another commodity. It does highlight how volatile oil prices are, and how challenging this heating season has been for many Maine households.

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.85) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $27.76. 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 . Efficiency Maine Trust also has an interesting chart homeowners can use to compare costs of specific heating options http://www.efficiencymaine.com/pace/compare-heating-options.

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.

As of February 19, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.85

3.81

3.89

3.84

3.79

3.95

High

4.06

4.00

4.06

3.98

3.98

3.95

Low

3.65

3.65

3.75

3.65

3.65

3.93

Kerosene

4.30

4.32

4.38

4.29

4.27

4.35

  Propane

2.78

 

 

 

 

 

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 $3.65 per gallon was recorded in three regions of the state. Likewise, the highest price of $4.06 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.

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For Immediate Release

Contact:
Lisa Smith
(207) 624-7445
lisa.j.smith@maine.gov