Heating Fuel Prices Fluctuate Slightly as U.S. Government Shutdown Commences

October 1, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, September 30, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $3.53 per gallon, a two cent decline from last week. The average statewide prices for both kerosene and propane increased a penny since last week, to $3.95 and $2.67 per gallon, respectively.

Although heating fuel prices haven’t changed significantly this week, crude oil prices declined three days in a row as the U.S. Government began its first shutdown in almost two decades. Uncertainty about the length of the shutdown, and the unresolved state of the debt ceiling threaten to slow the economy and cause a drop in demand http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-01/wti-crude-falls-on-u-s-government-shutdown.html . These events, combined with overall weak demand and rising inventories, all factor in to the slide in world crude oil prices.

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.53) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $25.45. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $17.00 (at $1.70/therm); propane, $29.23 (at $2.67/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. Other electric heating technologies, such as heat pumps and electric thermal storage (ETS), can offer consumers energy savings. Cold climate heat pumps, a recent technological advancement, are much more efficient than baseboard electric heat, so total energy costs are lower than many other types of heating fuels. ETS offers savings by utilizing off-peak electric rates, available in many areas of the state.

As of September 30, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.53

3.46

3.58

3.56

3.47

3.70

High

3.75

3.60

3.75

3.73

3.60

3.75

Low

3.28

3.28

3.40

3.28

3.28

3.58

Kerosene

3.95

3.90

3.99

3.96

3.89

4.10

Propane

2.67

2.61

2.91

2.55

2.67

2.65

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 ($3.75) was found in two regions of the state, and the lowest heating oil price ($3.28) was found in three regions. 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 Energy Office has a calculator on its web site that allows consumers to obtain more detailed estimates of home heating costs, and the price impacts of various types of fuel, heating systems and heating appliances. Heating costs vary considerably from home to home. The home heating calculator can assist homeowners in finding the best heating option for their home, location, lifestyle, and budget. 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