Heating Fuel Prices Continue Stable Trend as Heating Degree Days Increase

October 30, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, October 28, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $3.53 per gallon, a one cent decrease since last week. The average statewide prices for kerosene also dropped a cent, to $3.94 per gallon. Propane prices increased a cent, on average, to $2.68 per gallon.

Heating fuel prices continue to be relatively stable as the Maine’s heating season begins, and nighttime temperatures decline below freezing in most areas of the state. Although temperatures were unseasonably warm during the start of the heating season at the beginning of the month, more seasonable weather has arrived over the last week.

“Make no mistake - this is the time to prepare for winter temperatures,” said Patrick Woodcock, Director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “Modest investments from improved building efficiency, the addition of a supplementary heating system such as a wood pellet stove, or a heat pump, can significantly cut monthly heating bills. Right now, there are resources available to assist households across the state to reduce their energy costs, and I encourage Mainers to assess their options by visiting www.efficiencymaine.com. There are options today to lower energy costs, and Mainers should make the effort to take advantage of affordable heating options.”

Crude oil inventories are the highest they’ve been in four months http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-29/wti-oil-drops-from-one-week-high-as-crude-supplies-seen-rising.html , due to maintenance in some refinery operations, and increased shale oil production. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices have declined approximately 4 percent this month, on top of price drops in September. Prices remain below $100 per barrel. Brent oil prices, benchmark for two thirds of the world’s oil, still remain well over $100 per barrel due to cuts in Libyan oil production.

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, $29.34 (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). These fuel-only prices do not take into account the type of heating system you have. For example, 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.

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

As of October 28, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.53

3.49

3.55

3.56

3.46

3.65

High

3.80

3.80

3.78

3.71

3.60

3.70

Low

3.27

3.27

3.40

3.27

3.27

3.56

Kerosene

3.94

3.93

3.97

3.96

3.88

4.05

Propane

2.68

2.67

2.78

2.61

2.64

2.78

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 ($3.80) was found in one region in the state, and the lowest heating oil price ($3.27) 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.

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.

Download Release (PDF)

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Lisa Smith
(207) 624-7445
lisa.j.smith@maine.gov