First Day of Spring? Not In Maine, but Heating Fuel Prices Continue Falling

March 20, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, March 18, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil to be $3.69 per gallon, down four additional cents from last week’s price survey, and 17 cents lower than this time last year. The average kerosene price also fell five cents, to $4.14 per gallon. Propane prices declined as well; the statewide price for propane dropped two cents since last week, averaging $2.75 per gallon.

World events, once again, impact the price Mainers pay for heating fuel. Brent crude oil, the world market benchmark, declined over 1 percent, as lawmakers in the small, financially troubled country of Cypress debated how to avert a bank crisis there. This decline also had downward pressure on the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil, although the Brent decline was greater. All this means that Mainers will, once again, pay a little less for heating oil, kerosene, and propane this week. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-19/brent-oil-falls-before-cyprus-vote-premium-to-wti-falls.html

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.69) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $26.61. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $17.00 (at $1.70/therm); propane, $30.11 (at $2.75/gallon); wood pellets, $14.79 (at $244/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

As of March 18, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.69

3.62

3.77

3.71

3.60

3.83

High

3.90

3.85

3.85

3.90

3.75

3.85

Low

3.34

3.34

3.60

3.40

3.38

3.75

Kerosene

4.14

4.08

4.24

4.13

4.07

4.23

  Propane

2.75

 

 

 

 

 

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. This week, within the Energy Office sample, the both the lowest heating oil price of $3.34, and the highest of $3.90, were each found in only one region of the state. 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