It's estimated that 25% of homes in the Northeast use heating oil, and the Northeast accounts for 87% of national consumption. This form of combustible has traditionally been a favorite fuel in the region. In past years, the cost of keeping all those homes warm was high due to rising petrol prices across the board. Domestic production of natural gas caused the price of that fuel to plummet, which encouraged some homeowners to transition to gas. However, the cost of that conversion, anywhere from $5,000 to $19,000, makes many people think twice before using the cheaper fuel. For most homeowners, the savings from using gas instead will take a long time to offset the expense of the conversion. |
The good news for these homeowners is that heating oil costs will be exceptionally low this winter, down more than a dollar a gallon on average from last year. Cheap heating oil becomes available when crude is cheap, and since this domestic heating alternative is very similar to diesel, homeowners can estimate the cost of home fuel by tracking diesel prices. Driven by high production from both North American and OPEC sources and low demand from consumers globally, crude prices plummeted this year. New Englanders with oil burning systems stand to benefit.
Every winter, a home in New England may require 1000 gallons or more of heating oil to stay warm. The recent price drop has meant hundreds of dollars in savings every time the tank is filled. Since most of the purveyors of cheap heating oil in the region are small, family-owned businesses, low prices are also a boon to local economies because the outlay for a small business to fill its trucks is lower, and homeowners can afford to pay their bills on time. Also, the downturn in crude prices has meant that homes and businesses are less likely to find converting to natural gas worth the cost.
All fossil fuels are subject to price fluctuations according to production levels, but some production companies are hoping to stabilize prices by supplying cheap heating oil blended with biofuel. These blends combine vegetable and animal fat, burn cleaner, and are biodegradable and nontoxic. Advancements in biofuel technology are exciting for homeowners ready to support renewable energy sources. But even for those sticking with tried-and-true dino fuel, this winter looks to be a comfortable one in the Northeast.
The weather forecast for New England's great indoors? Balmy, thanks to the local oil vendor.
When looking for cheap heating oil, MA residents can go to http://www.springfield.bottomlineoil.com/delivery-area.
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