Heating Oil Prices Following Last Year’s Trend

February 25, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, February 25, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil to be $3.83 per gallon, down two cents from last week’s price survey, and the first decline since its sharp rise at the start of the year. The average kerosene price fell one cent, to $4.30 per gallon. The average statewide propane price, however, increased 4 cents, to $2.82 a gallon.

Below is a graph of home heating oil prices collected for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 heating seasons.

Average Home Heating Oil Prices Maine, 2011-12 and 2012-13

During last year’s heating season, the price of #2 home heating oil rose to historic highs in late February/early March, peaking at an average of $3.86 per gallon. This year, prices are following the same trend; last week’s average statewide price was $3.85, the highest of the heating season. However, for the second week in a row, crude oil prices have declined. As of late afternoon Monday, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, as well as Brent crude, dropped even more, to $92.28 and $113.51 per barrel. Prices of crude have not been that low for several weeks, and the reasons for the decline, once again, are linked to events in other parts of the world. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-25/oil-rises-for-second-day-before-iran-talks.html

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 . 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 25, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.83

3.77

3.90

3.84

3.79

3.95

High

4.00

3.95

4.00

3.99

3.95

3.95

Low

3.60

3.60

3.75

3.60

3.60

3.93

Kerosene

4.30

4.27

4.38

4.27

4.27

4.35

  Propane

2.82

 

 

 

 

 

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 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