Where Are Maine & New Hampshire Heating Oil Prices Headed?The average price of a gallon of heating oil today in New Hampshire and Maine is over 3 bucks! That’s up over 15% since last winter. Over the past 10 or so years, heating oil prices have yo-yoed from a lovely $2 a gallon, all the way up to a gnarly $4 bucks. That’s a pretty big difference, especially when you’re filling a 275-gallon tank. So what makes oil prices shift so dramatically, and what are they likely to do this year?
What drives heating oil prices?Long term shifts in heating oil prices (like the ones that happen year over year) are typically tied to crude oil prices (check out our previous article). When the price of crude oil goes up, heating oil is quick to follow. However, extreme weather (either super warm or freezing cold) can also affect the price in the short term – like last year when we experienced what felt like an eternal winter and heating oil suppliers could hardly keep up with demand. That spiked the prices, because supply was low while demand was high.
Source: EIA. EIA tracks a report on heating oil prices from October to March. If you look at the graph, there are gaps in the line for April to September when the EIA is not tracking prices.
So where are heating oil prices going this winter?Well, we can’t predict the future – or the weather or crude oil prices – so, it’s hard to say. But we can tell you what to look for in the news that might indicate a price swing is coming – and then you can stay informed and order smart and impress all your friend with your financially savvy.
Factors that might make heating oil prices go down this winter
- Any forecast of lower crude oil prices, which could come from…
- A slowdown in the global economy
- Reduction in China’s oil imports (yup China’s economy affects your heating oil price!)
- Increased production or “inventory” of crude oil around the globe
- Warmer than average New England winter which will lower local demand for heating oil
Factors that might make heating oil prices go up
- Any forecast of higher crude oil prices, which could come from...
- A strengthening economy
- A resolution of trade tensions between the US and other countries
- A decrease in crude oil production (either voluntarily or because of sanctions of oil producing countries like Iran)
- Extreme cold over an extended period of time (> than 2 weeks), which would increase demand and may disrupt supply
Visit our What Really Affects Home Heating Oil Prices? for more details.
Learn more about Heating Oil
Visit our Ultimate Consumer’s Guide to Heating Oil for everything you need to know about heating your home with #2 heating oil.Stay cozy out there!
The Heatable Crew