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

Heating Oil Prices Starting to Decline

January 9, 2019

Augusta, Maine - The Governor's Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, January 7, 2018, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $2.86 per gallon, down 9 cents in the last three weeks. The average statewide kerosene price has also dropped 9 cents, and now stands at $3.45 per gallon. The average propane price (for heating customers) this week has dipped to $2.87 per gallon, just below the $2.88 or $2.89 per gallon statewide price that has held steady since late October. The table below shows average prices since early November, and the difference in prices between this heating season and 2017-18.

Date Maine Average Heating Fuel Prices,
per Gallon
Heating Oil Kerosene Propane
11/5/18 $3.01 $3.61 $2.89
11/13/18 $3.02 $3.61 $2.88
11/19/18 $3.01 $3.60 $2.89
11/26/18 $2.99 $3.58 $2.88
12/3/18 $2.97 $3.54 $2.88
12/10/18 $2.96 $3.55 $2.89
12/17/18 $2.96 $3.55 $2.89
12/26/18 $2.96 $3.55 $2.89
1/2/19 $2.88 $3.47 $2.88
1/7/19 $2.86 $3.45 $2.87
avg. 2017-18 heating
season price
$2.59 $3.22 $2.70

Crude oil prices dropped almost 40 percent from early October into December, and have since recovered slightly; prices are now approximately 30 percent lower than early October highs (approximately $52 [WTI] to $61 [Brent] per barrel). Despite this, heating oil prices have continued a slow decline over the last few weeks. Crude oil prices are a significant factor contributing to the final price of heating oil, but weather also plays a large role.

Heating Degree Days (HDD), a measure of heating demand, tell the story over the last couple of months. As the table below illustrates, heating demand in October and November was significantly higher than last year, and also higher than the 30 year normal calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). October was approximately 50% colder than a year ago. In contrast, December was warmer than last year, and very close to the 30 year average. Higher demand often results in higher prices, and lower demand, the opposite. Until the last few weeks, heating demand has been a factor contributing to flat retail prices in the face of lower crude oil costs. With the warm December, retail prices have begun to decline.

Heating Degree Days, Selected Locations in Maine, October to December 2018

City

HDD

Deviation from 30 Year Normal

Deviation from last year

Season Deviation from 30 year Normal

Season Deviation from last year

OCTOBER

Colder (3-13%) than a normal October; much colder (46-53%) than Oct. 2017

Augusta

594

90

317

Bangor

614

80

318

Caribout

775

84

358

Houlton

789

106

364

Portland

539

16

263

NOVEMBER

Colder (6-16%) than a normal November; 8-12.5% colder than Nov. 2017

Augusta

964

158

115

Bangor

973

134

122

Caribou

1113

74

90

Houlton

1106

99

121

Portland

883

93

87

DECEMBER

Avg. to slightly warmer than a normal December; 5-14% warmer than Dec. 2017

Augusta

1099

2

-111

Bangor

1142

10

-135

Caribou

1359

3

-70

Houlton

1311

-11

-77

Portland

991

-46

-140

SEASON TOTAL (through Dec.)

Percent colder than Normal

Percent colder than last year

Augusta

2833

188

354

7%

14%

Bangor

2939

160

364

6%

14%

Caribou

3580

-53

402

-1%

13%

Houlton

3614

83

463

2%

15%

Portland

2568

-69

237

-3%

10%

https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/cdus/degree_days/

Another factor contributing to the slow decline in retail prices is tighter domestic supplies. According to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. distillate inventories (including heating oil) have regained a bit of ground from mid-December, and are no longer below the five-year average. That being said, inventories are still at the bottom of the five year range for this time of year. See chart below.

Other states in the region are experiencing similar trends. Below is a chart that shows average statewide prices for heating oil and propane in the northeast states. Average prices are determined using a population-weighted sample of retailers in each state.

Statewide Average Prices for Heating Oil and Propane NE United States - Dec. 31, 2018

State Heating Oil Propane
CT $3.133 $2.965
MA $3.175 $3.112
ME $2.959 $3.019
NH $3.107 $3.317
NY $3.357 $3.265
RI $3.238 $3.572
VT $2.740 $3.459

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_wfr_a_EPD2F_prs_dpgal_w.htm

Closer to home, below is a table of prices collected for various regions of the state.

Maine Retail Heating Fuel Prices, as of January 7, 2019


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

2.86

2.90

2.89

2.80

2.87

2.82

High

3.35

3.35

3.35

3.35

3.35

2.95

Low

2.49

2.49

2.71

2.51

2.70

2.75

Kerosene

3.45

3.52

3.49

3.39

3.43

3.37

Propane

2.87

3.04

2.82

2.86

2.77

2.66

Based on this week's prices, Mainers can estimate the cost of heating by using the table below. Prices between various heating fuels are listed, and these prices are converted to a common heating unit value (dollars per million Btu).

Comparison of Heating Fuel Prices per Million Btu (January 7, 2019)

Fuel Price (in dollars) Fuel Price (dollars per million Btu)
Cord Wood ($275/cord) $12.50
Wood Pellets ($268/ton) $16.24
Natural Gas ($1.58-$2.16/therm) $15.83-$21.61
Heating Oil ($2.86/gallon) $20.62
Kerosene ($3.45/gallon) $25.56
Propane ($2.87/gallon) $31.42
Electricity - baseboard (15.8-18.5 cents/kwh) $46.31-$54.22
Electricity - air source heat pump (5.85-6.85 cents/kwh)** $17.15-$20.08

*price varies depending on location; natural gas and electricity delivery companies service only selected areas of the state.
**ductless, air source heat pump calculations courtesy of Efficiency Maine

Fuel prices are only part of the calculation when determining which fuel will save you more money over the course of a heating season. The type of heating system and its efficiency are also important factors in determining final costs. The Energy Office has a calculator on its website that allows consumers to explore these fuel options further, as well as compare efficiencies of heating systems most closely matching their own system. 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 also has a calculator on its website to help consumers evaluate their heating options http://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/home-energy-savings-program/heating-cost-comparison/ .

The price for heating oil is a statewide average; 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 found was $3.35, and the lowest heating oil price found was $2.49. In addition, the statewide average price for propane is based on consumption 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