Current Heating Fuel Prices

The Governor's Energy Office (GEO) conducts a weekly survey of heating fuel prices during the heating season from the beginning of October to the end of March. During the rest of the year, the GEO releases a bi-weekly update.

Please Note: The price for the various heating fuels are statewide averages, and prices in a given geographic region of the state may be considerably higher or lower than this average. Also, the statewide average price for propane, like heating oil, is a spot price, not a pre-buy price. The spot 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 listed in our weekly price survey 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. Home Heating Calculator

Low Oil Prices – The New Reality?

January 28, 2015

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, January 26, 2015, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $2.56 per gallon, an additional four cents lower than last week, and a seven cent decline over the last two weeks. The average statewide price for kerosene declined significantly as well, to $3.12 per gallon, twelve cents lower than two weeks ago. Average propane prices have also dropped seven cents a gallon over the last two weeks, to $2.66 a gallon (for heating customers). A year ago at this time, heating oil averaged $3.87 per gallon; kerosene, $4.27, and propane, $3.35. Retail heating oil prices, statewide, are approximately 35% lower than a year ago.

The same headlines are prevailing - worldwide crude oil supplies are likely to exceed demand for the rest of 2015 and beyond. So, although prices appear to be stabilizing at between $45 and $50 per barrel, they don’t appear poised to rebound any time soon http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-28/crude-at-49-sinks-big-oil-growth-prospects-as-profits-falter . The lowest oil prices since 2009 are now discouraging new developments in high-cost regions such as Canada’s oil sands (see chart below), but production already underway will continue, as oil producers have already sunk significant fixed costs into existing wells http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=19711&src=email

OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, is betting that its low position (i.e., its low-priced position) on the supply curve will eventually mean the more expensive-to-recover oil, e.g., Canadian oil sands and U.S. tight oil, will leave the market. This will leave Saudi Arabia maintaining its market share when prices rebound. However, oil producers elsewhere are, for the immediate future, ignoring Saudi Arabia’s strategy http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060012226 . Producers have various reasons, including recovering fixed costs and placating investors. Other oil producing nations have political reasons – i.e., their budgets depend on oil revenue (take Venezuela and Russia, for example), so some income is better than none. The bottom line is that this additional production at current, below-$50-a-barrel prices, means any market adjustments will be further delayed. So what is bad news for oil markets actually is very good news for all Mainers driving to work and heating their homes with oil, k-1 or propane. It would appear that, at a minimum, Maine will continue to benefit from lower oil prices well into 2015.

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($2.56), and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $18.46. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $19.50 (at $1.95/therm); propane, $29.12 (at $2.66/gallon); kerosene $23.11 (at $3.12/gallon); wood pellets, $15.33 (at $253/ton); cord wood, $12.95 (at $285/cord) and electricity, $43.96 (at 15 cents per kwh).

These fuel-only prices do not take into account the type of heating system, nor its efficiency. 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 January 26, 2015


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

2.56

2.45

2.68

2.54

2.53

2.67

High

2.99

2.99

2.85

2.70

2.80

2.70

Low

2.13

2.13

2.50

2.20

2.20

2.65

Kerosene

3.13

3.16

3.17

3.04

3.11

3.06

Propane

2.66

2.73

2.74

2.61

2.56

2.58

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 ($2.99) was found in one region in the state, and the lowest heating oil price ($2.13) was also recorded in one region. 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.

Download Release (PDF)

For Immediate Release

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

View archived Heating Oil Prices