No News is Good News - Heating Fuel Prices Remain Steady

November 5, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, November 4, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $3.53 per gallon, the same price as last week. The average statewide prices for kerosene remained steady at $3.94 per gallon, and average propane prices were two cents higher than last week, at $2.70 a gallon.

Stable prices continue for yet another week. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell to its lowest price in four months http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-04/wti-crude-trades-near-lowest-level-since-june-on-supply-gains.html , as stockpiles in the U.S. continue to climb. Brent crude (the European benchmark) also declined this week, with both Libya and Iraq increasing production.

However, these stable heating fuel prices are still historically very high prices. Yesterday, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services released $33 million in federal heating assistance funds, known as LIHEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) http://bangordailynews.com/2013/11/04/news/state/more-than-33-million-in-heating-fuel-assistance-headed-for-maine/?ref=search . The total amount available to states is slightly lower than last year, and more than 40 percent less than just four years ago. Energy Director Patrick Woodcock urged Mainers to take advantage of programs to weatherize their homes and install less expensive heating systems. “The announcement yesterday is further indication that Mainers must take control of their energy situation and make strategic investments to lower their energy costs. Federal LIHEAP assistance has been significantly reduced over the last few winters, and it is imperative that residents assess how modern technology from energy efficiency, wood pellets, heat pumps, and advanced heating systems can dramatically lower their costs.”

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 $15.50 (at $1.55/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). 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 November 4, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.53

3.48

3.57

3.56

3.47

3.62

High

3.80

3.80

3.74

3.74

3.60

3.70

Low

3.26

3.26

3.40

3.27

3.27

3.56

Kerosene

3.94

3.93

3.97

3.96

3.87

4.03

Propane

2.70

2.68

2.80

2.65

2.64

2.68

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, as was the lowest heating oil price ($3.26). 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.

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For Immediate Release

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