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 Fuel Prices Stabilize this Week

November 1, 2018

Augusta, Maine - The Governor's Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, October 29, 2018, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $3.02 per gallon, unchanged since last week, and just three cents higher than mid-month. The average statewide kerosene price is a cent higher than last week, now $3.62 per gallon. The average propane price has risen four cents since mid-October, and now stands at $2.88 per gallon, statewide (for heating customers). The table below shows prices over the last month, and the difference in prices between this heating season and 2017-18. While current heating fuel prices are, on average, 6.7 to 16.6% more expensive than they were last year, prices have leveled off after steep increases for several weeks in a row. Propane is the one exception - propane prices have not risen as dramatically as heating oil, but have continued to rise slightly.

Date Maine Average Retail Fuel Prices,
per Gallon
Heating Oil Kerosene Propane
10/1/18 $2.88 $3.45 $2.77
10/9/18 $2.96 $3.55 $2.83
10/15/18 $2.99 $3.58 $2.84
10/22/18 $3.02 $3.61 $2.86
10/29/18 $3.02 $3.62 $2.88
avg, 2017-18 heating
season price
$2.59 $3.22 $2.70
% higher than last
season
16.6% 12.4% 6.7%

After several weeks of price escalations in the global crude oil market, oil prices have retreated from four year highs of between $75 (WTI, the North American benchmark price) and $85 (Brent- the European benchmark) per barrel, and are now down to $65 (WTI) and $75 (Brent) per barrel. The crude oil market was quite volatile over the last several weeks, due to considerable speculation over the potential impact of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That period of speculation has since eased, and prices have declined as a result.

Local propane prices have continued to creep upward, however. This may be due to locally tighter inventories, as reflected in the U.S. The Energy Information Administration's (EIA) recently released propane market update https://www.eia.gov/special/heatingfuels/resources/Propane_Briefing.pdf?src=email

As you can see in the graph below, local (New England) inventories of propane are lower than the five year range.

However, inventories in other areas of the country are within or above their five-year ranges, so nationally, there are adequate supplies. The Northeast region can also import propane, should demand spike and if additional fuel cannot be shipped via rail or truck from regions with more robust inventories.

The graph below illustrates that propane prices in the Northeast (pricing based on delivery to Selkirk, NY) generally follow spot prices in the Gulf Coast, delivery point Mont Belvieu, Texas.

The prices illustrated above are wholesale prices from Selkirk, NY (near Albany), and not the final price delivered to the Maine customer. The graph below shows retail prices for this year and last year, for the entire east coast (PADD 1), and compares them to prices in the Midwest region (PADD 2).

Propane prices for the East coast region are trending higher this year than last, while the Midwest is seeing slightly lower prices. In contrast, heating oil prices are much higher this season, in both the Northeast and Midwest regions, than they were last year.

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

*Maine Retail Heating Fuel Prices, as of October 29, 2018


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.02

2.99

3.05

3.06

2.96

3.12

High

3.40

3.40

3.40

3.40

3.40

3.20

Low

2.70

2.76

2.85

2.88

2.70

3.05

Kerosene

3.62

3.63

3.63

3.63

3.54

3.66

Propane

2.88

3.03

2.81

2.90

2.77

2.70

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 Btu (October 15, 2018)

Fuel Price (in dollars) Fuel Price (dollars per million Btu)
Cord Wood ($275/cord) $12.50
Natural Gas ($1.21-$2.21/therm)* $12.14-$22.14
Wood Pellets ($268/ton) $16.24
Heating Oil ($3.02/gallon) $21.78
Kerosene ($3.62/gallon) $26.81
Propane ($2.84/gallon) $31.53
Electricity - baseboard (14-17.5 cents/kwh) $42.50-$51.29
Electricity - air source heat pump (5.2-6.5 cents/kwh)* $15.24-$19.05

*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, as well as its efficiency, is also important factors 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/

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 $3.40, and the lowest heating oil price found was $2.70 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.

Download Release (PDF)

For Immediate Release

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

View archived Heating Oil Prices