Heating Oil Prices Decline Again, but Remain Close to Record High Levels

March 6, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, March 4, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil to be $3.78 per gallon, down five cents from last week’s price survey, and down 7 cents from two weeks ago. The average kerosene price also fell five cents, to $4.25 per gallon. Propane prices followed the same trend, declining 6 cents from last week, to $2.76 per gallon.

Below is a graph of home heating oil prices this season, illustrating the steep rise in January and February, and, in recent days, a small decline.

Average Heating Oil Prices Maine, 2012-13

Once again, this recent price drop can be attributed to events outside of the United States. According to Bloomberg News, WTI crude oil dropped below $90 per barrel for the first time this year, due to reports of slower economic growth in China. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2013-03-04/oil-fluctuates-as-china-services-industries-growth-slows.html On Monday, prices closed at just above the $90 dollar mark, at $90.12 per barrel. This is almost three dollars lower than a week ago, and $16.58 lower than last year. http://www.eia.gov/ . China’s loss is Maine’s gain, as it will cost a little less to fill up your heating oil tank this week.

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($2.78) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $27.25. 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 March 4, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.78

3.72

3.85

3.79

3.74

3.89

High

3.97

3.95

3.97

3.95

3.85

3.95

Low

3.50

3.50

3.65

3.50

3.53

3.85

Kerosene

4.25

4.23

4.32

4.22

4.20

4.30

  Propane

2.76

 

 

 

 

 

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 $3.50 per gallon was recorded in two regions of the state. Likewise, the highest price of $3.97 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