Heating Fuel Prices Rise in Anticipation of Falling U.S. Crude Inventories

December 3, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, December 2, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $3.61 per gallon, up five cents from last week. The average statewide price for kerosene rose similarly, up four cents from last week to $4.00 per gallon. Average propane prices remained unchanged from last week, at $2.77 per gallon.

Crude oil prices have increased this week, as new pipeline capacity coming online will decrease current domestic inventories of crude oil (West Texas Intermediate, or WTI). Starting in January, additional crude stocks will be able to move from Cushing, Oklahoma to refinery operations in the Gulf coast. A decrease in inventories translates into higher crude oil prices, which means Mainers will pay a little more for heating oil this week http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-03/oil-rises-on-forecasts-for-u-s-supply-drop.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-03/wti-oil-gains-a-third-day-as-u-s-crude-stockpiles-seen-falling.html

Average prices this week are still slightly lower than last year, with the exception of propane – this week’s price is slightly higher than it was at this time last year ($2.73).

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.61) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $26.03. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $15.50 (at $1.55/therm); propane, $30.33 (at $2.77/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. For example, the electricity cost is for traditional baseboard heat. Other electric heating technologies, such as heat pumps and electric thermal storage (ETS), may 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 December 3, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.61

3.58

3.61

3.64

3.54

3.69

High

3.90

3.90

3.80

3.84

3.70

3.81

Low

3.40

3.40

3.50

3.40

3.40

3.65

Kerosene

4.00

3.99

4.03

4.04

3.94

4.07

Propane

2.77

2.83

2.88

2.71

2.68

2.74

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 ($3.90) was found in one region in the state, and the lowest heating oil price ($3.40) 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.

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For Immediate Release

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