Energy Office to begin Publishing Heating Fuel Prices Year Round

April 23, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, April 22, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil to be $3.50 per gallon, down another five cents from last week’s price survey, and now 34 cents lower than the season’s peak price recorded in mid-February. The average kerosene price also fell an additional three cents, to $3.96 per gallon. Propane prices inched up a little from last week, to $2.75 per gallon. This is a two cent increase from the average heating rate price recorded last week.

This recent decline in prices, coupled with increasing consumer interest in off-season pricing, has propelled the Energy Office to decide to collect and distribute pricing information year round. In the past the office ceased publication with the traditional end of the heating season in March.

“Consumer interest in heating fuel prices does not end with the ‘official’ end of the heating season,” stated Energy Office Director Patrick Woodcock. “Heating oil is one of the biggest expenses for Maine families and as a result we want to ensure that Mainers have this information available and prepare in the summer for the upcoming season. Collecting prices and making the information available year round will allow consumers to make informed decisions regarding those purchases and allow for longer preparation for the heating season.”

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.50) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $25.24. 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, $14.55 (at $240/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 22, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.50

3.43

3.58

3.49

3.47

3.63

High

3.70

3.60

3.70

3.70

3.63

3.70

Low

3.19

3.20

3.40

3.19

3.26

3.46

Kerosene

3.96

3.89

4.09

3.93

3.90

4.03

Propane

2.75

2.64

2.82

2.64

2.75

3.19

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 $3.19 was found in one region of the state, and the highest of $3.70, in three regions in 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 generally 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