The Results are In - Maine Average Heating Oil Prices for 2012-2013 Season Were at Record Highs

April 3, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, April 1, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil to be $3.61 per gallon, down another five cents from last week’s price survey, and 17 cents lower than a month ago. The average kerosene price also fell four cents, to $4.07 per gallon. Propane prices remained steady for the third week in a row, averaging $2.75 per gallon.

This latest decline in prices is very welcome news for Mainers; however, the overall trend for the season was record high costs for home heating oil. The Energy Office reviewed price data for the last several years and found the average statewide price for heating oil, for the months October 2012 through March 2013, to be $3.71 per gallon, which is 4 cents per gallon higher than last year. At that per gallon price, the average homeowner using 850 gallons of heating oil spent $3,153 to heat their home this year. Less than 10 years ago, during the 2004-2005 season, the average heating oil price was only $1.93 per gallon, $1.78 per gallon lower than this year’s average price. A homeowner using 850 gallons in 2004-2005 would have spent only $1,640 for heating oil. In less than 10 years, Mainers are spending almost twice as much for basic heating needs.

And according to Energy Office Director Patrick Woodcock, this situation needs to change. “Maine remains far too exposed to the price of home heating oil. The combination of cold weather and high prices were a drain on the Maine economy and painful for household budgets. We must develop and execute a state plan that reorients us toward affordable energy options that use heating oil efficiently, and expands the use of natural gas, heat pumps, wood pellets, propane, and energy efficiency. There are affordable energy options for every Mainer available today to reduce their heating bills, and we must expand the use of these modern technologies.”

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.61) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $26.03. 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. 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 April 1, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.61

3.52

3.71

3.64

3.56

3.73

High

3.85

3.75

3.85

3.85

3.70

3.75

Low

3.26

3.26

3.50

3.26

3.26

3.65

Kerosene

4.07

4.01

4.17

4.08

3.99

4.13

  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 lowest heating oil price of $3.26 was found in three regions of the state, and the highest of $3.85, in two regions 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