Heating Fuel Prices Stabilize in Wake of Falling Imports

June 25, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, June 24, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil to be $3.38 per gallon, the same price as two weeks ago. Kerosene prices declined slightly, dropping one cent to a statewide average of $3.82 per gallon. Propane prices increased two weeks ago, and have since remained stable s: this week’s average price statewide is $2.68 a gallon, a seven cent increase from June 10th.

As the fiscal year draws to a close, a drop in imports of crude to the United States and a sharp rise in domestic production have helped lead to stabilized prices. In a report released Monday, Bloomberg stated that imports of crude oil from Russia have dropped from a record high of 6.53 million barrels in June 2012 to 713,000 this year. North Dakota’s Bakken Shale has been the primary source of crude coming into the west coast of the United States this year, marking a move away from sole reliance on foreign oil http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-21/bakken-boom-cutting-west-coast-imports-of-crude-energy-markets.html According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. has roughly 58 billion barrels worth of recoverable shale oil http://www.eia.gov/oog/info/twip/twip.asp

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.38) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $23.97. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $17.00 (at $1.70/therm); propane, $29.37 (at $2.68/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.

As of June 24, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.38

3.32

3.49

3.39

3.33

3.42

High

3.79

3.79

3.60

3.66

3.47

3.45

Low

3.10

3.10

3.30

3.10

3.10

3.35

Kerosene

3.82

3.76

3.94

3.81

3.80

3.82

Propane

2.68

2.63

2.77

2.55

2.69

2.93

As the chart below shows, the price of No. 2 Heating Oil has declined steadily since the end of March, which is considered by the Energy Information Administration as the end of the ‘heating season’ nationwide. Many heating oil providers are now offering contracts for customers to lock in a price for the upcoming heating season, which is a great option for those looking to save money on their heating bills next winter.

Heating oil prices 2012-2013

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 $3.10 was found in three regions of the state, and the highest of $3.79 was found in one region 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.

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 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