Average Heating Oil Price Under $2.00 for Second Time this Season

December 3, 2015

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, November 30, 2015, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $1.98 per gallon, down two cents from last week, and the lowest average price this season. The average kerosene price also dropped two cents to $2.57 per gallon, while the average statewide propane price gained a cent, now $2.20 a gallon.

The battle for global market share continues, as crude oil prices hover just over $40 per barrel. Several members of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), including Venezuela and Ecuador, are calling for overall production cuts, so that prices will stabilize. Iran has called for production cuts as well, so that they may increase their own exports next year once international sanctions over their nuclear program are lifted http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-03/opec-states-push-for-oil-curbs-as-saudis-insist-on-global-effort Saudi Arabia, OPECs largest producer, has continued to oppose a reduction in production. OPEC’s production has exceeded their daily production target of 30 million barrels for the last eighteen months. Even if OPEC decides to cut production, oil inventories are at record high levels, so any significant price impacts will not likely surface this next year. So Mainers can expect continued low prices as the heating season continues.

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($1.98), and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $14.42. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $15.72 (at $1.57/therm); propane, $24.09 (at $2.20/gallon); kerosene $19.04 (at $2.57/gallon); wood pellets, $15.39 (at $254/ton); cord wood, $11.36 (at $250/cord) and electricity (electric baseboard), $38.10 to $55.69 (at 13-19 cents per kwh).

However, fuel-only prices are only part of the calculation when determining which fuel will save you more this heating season. The type of heating system, as well as its efficiency, needs to be factored into the estimate. 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 . Efficiency Maine also has a calculator on its website that can help consumers evaluate their heating options http://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/home-energy-savings-program/heating-cost-comparison/

As of November 30, 2015


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

1.98

1.92

2.04

2.00

1.91

2.17

High

2.36

2.30

2.25

2.36

2.10

2.25

Low

1.66

1.66

1.70

1.66

1.66

2.15

Kerosene

2.57

2.68

2.50

2.52

2.51

2.55

Propane

2.20

2.17

2.12

2.18

2.28

2.34

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 ($2.36) was found in one region in the state, and the lowest heating oil price ($1.66) was recorded 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.

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For Immediate Release

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