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

The Heating Season In Review - Heating Fuel Prices Remained Stable Despite Volatile Oil Prices and Fluctuating Heating Demand

May 10, 2019

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, May 6, 2019, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $2.84 per gallon, down several cents a gallon since mid-March.  The average statewide kerosene price has followed a similar trend, dropping several cents over the last few weeks, and now is $3.46 per gallon.  Propane prices have declined significantly more, dropping 16 cents to $2.73 a gallon (for heating customers).  The table below shows average monthly prices during the entire heating season, as well as average prices for both the 2017-18 and the 2018-19 heating seasons.  Overall, heating fuel prices were 6.3% to 12% higher this heating season than last.

Date

Maine Average Retail Heating Fuel Prices, per Gallon

 

Heating Oil

Kerosene

Propane

October 2018

$2.98

$3.56

$2.84

November 2018

$3.01

$3.60

$2.89

December 2018

$2.95

$3.53

$2.89

January 2019

$2.89

$3.49

$2.87

February 2019

$2.90

$3.50

$2.88

March 2019

$2.90

$3.51

$2.89

April 2019

$2.86

$3.47

$2.80

Avg. 2018-19 heating season price*

$2.90

$3.53

$2.87

Avg. 2017-18 heating season price*

$2.59

$3.22

$2.70

Percent increase over 2017-18

12%

9.6%

6.3%

*heating season is October through March

As the chart above indicates, heating fuel prices remained relatively consistent throughout the heating season, despite fluctuating crude oil prices.  Oil prices spiked in September and early October and prices then declined 30-40% during November and December, partly due to an increase in U.S. production.  See graph below.

usa crude oil production chart

Since the end of December, OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) members have reduced their production; U.S. output has not kept pace with earlier forecasts, and Venezuela’s production declined more than expected[1]. Crude prices have subsequently risen, and are now in the $61 (WTI) to $70(Brent) range, higher than the $53 to $63 range observed in early January.

In addition, retail fuel prices are also impacted by weather – the colder it is, the higher the demand.  Heating Degree Days (HDD) are a measure of that heating demand.  The higher the HDD, the higher the demand for fuel, which also puts upward pressure on prices.  The heating season this year has been a bit of a roller coaster in terms of heating demand, reflected in the table below.  October and November of 2018 were significantly colder than the same months in 2017, as well as the 30-year normal[2] temperatures calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for those months.  December 2018, in contrast, was warmer than both December 2017 and normal December temperatures. January & February 2019 were slightly warmer to slightly colder than the 30-year average, depending on location, but temperatures were much colder than last year (6-15%).  March was much colder as well.  Heating degree days indicate that Maine was 3-8% colder than average, and 6-13% colder than March 2018.

Overall, the season was 6-12% colder than last year (depending on location. 

Heating Degree Days (HDD), Selected Locations in Maine

Heating Season 2018-19

City

HDD

Deviation from 30 Year Normal[3]

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

 

 

Caribou

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

 

 

JANUARY

Avg. to slightly warmer than normal January; 3% warmer to 4.5% colder than Jan. 2018

Augusta

1418

8

44

 

 

Bangor

1433

-25

12

 

 

Caribou

1688

-31

44

 

 

Houlton

1651

-13

76

 

 

Portland

1289

-57

-46

 

 

FEBRUARY

Warmer (4.7%) to slightly colder than normal February; 6%-15% colder than Feb. 2018

Augusta

1195

15

176

 

 

 

Bangor

1244

16

103

 

 

Caribou

1495

29

175

 

 

Houlton

1452

32

183

 

 

Portland

1090

-51

64

 

 

                    

 

City

HDD

Deviation from 30 Year Normal

Deviation from last year

 

 

MARCH

3-8% colder than average March; 6-13% colder than March 2018

Augusta

1076

67

75

 

 

Bangor

1142

93

103

 

 

Caribou

1297

43

175

 

 

Houlton

1312

95

183

 

 

Portland

1020

35

64

 

 

HEATING SEASON TOTAL

 

 

 

Percent colder than Normal

Percent colder than last year

Augusta

6606

274

599

4%

10%

Bangor

6850

246

576

4%

9%

Caribou

8166

-13

809

0%

11%

Houlton

8135

199

887

3%

12%

Portland

6039

-153

355

-2%

6%

https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysismonitoring/cdus/degreedays/

Despite the colder temperatures and fluctuating crude oil markets, retail heating fuel prices were relatively stable.  However, with heating fuel prices 6-12% higher this year than last, most Mainers spent more of their budgets to stay warm this winter.

Below is a table of prices collected for various regions of the state. 

Maine Retail Heating Fuel Prices, as of May 6, 2019

Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

2.84

2.84

2.87

2.84

2.80

2.87

High

3.20

3.20

3.20

3.20

3.20

2.95

Low

2.60

2.60

2.68

2.65

2.65

2.75

Kerosene

3.46

3.52

3.46

3.42

3.40

3.44

Propane

2.73

2.93

2.64

2.65

2.78

2.46


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

(May 6, 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 ($1.06-$2.05/therm)*

$10.60-$20.48

Heating Oil ($2.84/gallon)

$20.62

Kerosene ($3.46/gallon)

$25.63

Propane ($2.73/gallon)

$29.89

Electricity - baseboard (15.8-18.5 cents/kwh)*

$46.31-$54.22

*price varies depending on location; natural gas and electricity delivery companies

 service only selected areas of the state. 

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.  For example, an energy efficient, cold climate heat pump uses electricity to provide heat, but does at a much lower cost than electric baseboard heating.  Below is an estimate of the cost of electricity when considering the heat pump’s efficiency.

Electricity - air source heat pump (5.85-6.85 cents/kwh)**

$17.15- $20.08 (per million Btu)

**ductless, air source heat pump calculations courtesy of Efficiency Maine

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 single 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 $3.20, and the lowest heating oil price found was $2.60.  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.

[1] https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/weekly/archive/2019/190508/includes/analysisprint.php

[2] https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysismonitoring/cdus/degree_days/mctyhddy.txt

[3] ‘Normal’, means the average temperature over a thirty-year period.  This figure illustrates long term trends, as opposed to conclusions that may be drawn from a single year temperature aberration.

Download Release (PDF)

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Lisa Smith
(207) 557-4439
lisa.j.smith@maine.gov

View archived Heating Oil Prices