Heating Fuel Prices Continue Upward Trend

August 6, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, August 5, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil to be $3.43 per gallon, the same as last week and one cent higher than two weeks ago. Kerosene prices have seen an increase as well, up three cents from two weeks ago to a statewide average of $3.87 per gallon. Propane prices have gone up and down in the past two weeks: after a three cent decrease from July 22nd to July 29th, the statewide average has risen two cents in the past week to $2.61 per gallon.

According an article published by Bloomberg on Monday, August 5th, domestic shale gas exploration is set to outperform big oil companies this year. The shale boom and the introduction of new pipelines and rail links in the Great Plains have actually helped drive the price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) up 16 percent this year. This price increase, combined with a 2 percent decrease in Brent crude, the international price benchmark, has led to a steady upward trajectory in heating fuel prices in recent weeks. One of the factors influencing the WTI increase has been a relatively slow refining sector in comparison to record domestic drilling efforts http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-04/shale-explorers-outperforming-international-oil-titans.html

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.43) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $24.73. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $17.00 (at $1.70/therm); propane, $28.58 (at $2.61/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 August 5, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.43

3.35

3.52

3.45

3.38

3.57

High

3.72

3.50

3.72

3.72

3.57

3.60

Low

3.18

3.18

3.30

3.18

3.18

3.49

Kerosene

3.87

3.81

3.94

3.87

3.82

3.97

Propane

2.61

2.53

2.66

2.52

2.74

2.73

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 $3.18 was found in three regions of the state, and the highest of $3.72 was found in two 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.

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 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