Average Heating Oil Price Now Lowest Since 2004

January 21, 2016

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, January 18, 2015, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $1.77 per gallon, down an additional four cents since last week. The average kerosene price declined four cents as well, now $2.38 per gallon, while the average statewide propane price remained the same at $2.22 a gallon. This week’s average heating oil price is the lowest price recorded since the Energy Office began its fuel price survey back in 2004.

These prices reflect the current price of WTI (West Texas Intermediate) and Brent crude oil, both trading well below $30 a barrel, prices not seen since 2003 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-19/oil-trades-near-12-year-low-as-u-s-supplies-seen-expanding-glut . North American supplies are continuing to expand despite the low prices, so any upward price pressure is not anticipated in the immediate future.

These continued low prices in the midst of the heating season also present an opportunity for Mainers. Based on the current heating season average of $1.95 per gallon, the average Maine household using 900 gallons of oil will save almost $1,600 this year over 2013-14 prices.

For those homeowners able to plan ahead, using those savings to make heating system upgrades and install efficiency measures will result in savings for many years, even if prices rise again. Efficiency Maine Trust, through its Home Energy Savings Program (HESP), provides rebates to homeowners for air sealing, insulation, and heating system upgrades. Go to Efficiency Maine’s website for details: http://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/home-energy-savings-program/ . There is also a new program for lower income Mainers as well: http://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/income-eligible-residential-customer-rebates/ . These rebates can also be combined with low interest financing, to accommodate larger energy efficiency and heating system projects.

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($1.77), and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $12.76. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $15.80 (at $1.58/therm); propane, $24.31 (at $2.22/gallon); kerosene $17.63 (at $2.38/gallon); wood pellets, $15.58 (at $258/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 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 are much more efficient than baseboard electric heat, so total energy costs are lower than 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 January 18, 2016


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

1.77

1.72

1.83

1.75

1.71

1.96

High

2.05

2.00

2.05

2.00

2.03

2.00

Low

1.40

1.40

1.50

1.45

1.45

1.90

Kerosene

2.38 2.50

2.34

2.27

2.36

2.37

Propane

2.22

2.22

2.13

2.14

2.36

2.36

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 ($2.05) was found in one region in the state, and the lowest heating oil price ($1.40) was also found 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.

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For Immediate Release

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