Heating Fuel Prices Decline as Global Crude Prices Remain Below $50

July 12, 2017

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, July 10, 2017, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $1.97 per gallon, 20 cents lower than it was at the end of the heating season. The average statewide kerosene price ($2.52 per gallon) has declined as well, also down twenty cents since mid-April. Propane prices are also lower, albeit not as significantly as heating oil; this week’s price (for heating customers) is $2.39 per gallon, four cents less than at the end of the heating season.

The lower prices observed since April reflect a volatile, but downward price trend over the last few months. The graph below illustrates the trend.

Despite production cuts made in 2017 by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), production has increased in Libya, Nigeria, and the U.S., thus offsetting price gains seen earlier in the year https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-21/oil-holds-losses-in-bear-market-as-u-s-output-extends-advance

In spite of reduced production, OPEC is still pumping more oil than world demand can absorb, keeping prices under $50 per barrel https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-12/opec-s-first-2018-outlook-shows-it-s-still-pumping-too-much-oil

This is good news for the 65% of Maine consumers who still rely on heating oil to heat their homes.

The following table compares the prices between various heating fuels, and converts these prices to a common heating unit value (dollars per million Btu).

Comparison of Heating Fuel Prices per Million Btu¹

Fuel Price (in dollars) Fuel Price (dollars per million Btu)
Cord Wood ($250/cord) $11.36
Natural Gas ($1.35/therm) $13.51
Heating Oil ($1.97/gallon) $14.20
Wood Pellets ($261/ton) $15.82
Kerosene ($2.52/gallon) $18.67
Propane ($2.39/gallon) $26.17
Electricity (baseboard) (15-18 cents/kwh) $43.94-$52.75

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, as well as its efficiency, is also an important factor in determining final costs. The Energy Office has a calculator on its web site 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 that can help consumers evaluate their heating options http://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/home-energy-savings-program/heating-cost-comparison/

As of July10, 2017


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

1.97

1.93

1.97

2.00

1.91

2.12

High

2.25

2.15

2.10

2.25

2.08

2.15

Low

1.66

1.69

1.70

1.69

1.66

2.00

Kerosene

2.52

2.55

2.49

2.51

2.45

2.62

Propane

2.39

2.41

2.43

2.26

2.43

2.47

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 $2.25, and the lowest heating oil price found was $1.66. Also, 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 Does not factor in the efficiency of the heating system

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For Immediate Release

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