Heating Fuel Prices on the Rise as Heating Season Approaches

September 10, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, September 10, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $3.56 per gallon, nine cents higher than two weeks ago. The average statewide price for kerosene has climbed similarly; the current price of $3.98 per gallon is nine cents per gallon higher than two weeks ago. Propane prices, usually less volatile, have also increased significantly this week; the statewide average price of $2.70 is 10 cents higher than two weeks ago.

Once again, political turmoil elsewhere is at the center of oil price volatility. The prospect of an American-led military strike on Syria fueled fears that oil supplies would be disrupted. World markets reacted, driving up the price of crude oil. Today, with progress being made toward a diplomatic solution, fears eased, and both West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude oil prices have declined for the second day in a row http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-10/wti-falls-as-russia-s-syria-proposal-eases-supply-concern.html

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.56) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $25.67. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $17.00 (at $1.70/therm); propane, $29.56 (at $2.70/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 September 9, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.56

3.49

3.63

3.60

3.49

3.73

High

3.85

3.60

3.85

3.80

3.70

3.75

Low

3.28

3.33

3.50

3.33

3.28

3.70

Kerosene

3.98

3.92

4.04

4.00

3.91

4.13

Propane

2.70

2.70

2.77

2.64

2.73

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 highest heating oil price ($3.85) was found in only one region of the state, as was the lowest heating oil price ($3.28). 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