Heating Fuel Prices – A Mixed Bag this Week

August 21, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, August 19, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil to be $3.44 per gallon, one cent higher than two weeks ago. The average statewide price for kerosene has remained the same, at $3.87 per gallon. Propane prices have fallen slightly over the last couple of weeks, to $2.58 per gallon, a decline of three cents.

Bloomberg news reported today that prices for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil have fallen 1.5% largely based on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s intent to slow the rate of its economic stimulus measures
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-21/wti-falls-to-one-week-low-amid-fed-speculation.html

This three day decline in WTI oil futures illustrates how volatile the price of heating oil can be for Maine households. Changing world economic conditions, political turmoil both at home and abroad, and extracting and refining disruptions all affect the price of crude oil. Domestic economic uncertainty this week even affected the world oil market. The price of Brent crude, considered the benchmark for world prices, also fell by 0.4%. WTI prices fell further, however, thus widening the Brent-WTI premium to $5.04 per barrel.

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 19, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.44

3.36

3.56

3.46

3.39

3.57

High

3.72

3.50

3.72

3.72

3.55

3.60

Low

3.18

3.25

3.42

3.25

3.18

3.50

Kerosene

3.87

3.82

3.96

3.86

3.82

3.97

Propane

2.58

2.56

2.66

2.51

2.59

2.69

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 one region 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