In New England, Low Heating Oil Prices Buy Some Time

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Some U.S. households can expect to save hundreds of dollars this winter with a drop in heating bills, thanks to a combination of lower energy prices and Heating Oil for Your Home warmer weather across most of the country, the U.S. Energy Department predicted Tuesday. The preventative maintenance requirements of gas heat systems cost about the same as the maintenance for heating oil. The price and availability of oil and gas in your area will be one of the main factors when choosing the best heating system for your home. The price of heating oil is influenced by local weather, and by the time of year, and when demand is high the price of heating oil will go up. However, when the weather is good suppliers often carry less oil, so prices may not be as low as you hope they would be.

For low-income families, the decline in heating oil prices could take some pressure off tight household budgets, offsetting rising rents and electric bills, said John Drew, president of Action for Boston Community Development, or ABCD, a nonprofit antipoverty agency that provides heating assistance in the Boston area. For others, an increase in oil prices can mean the difference between just getting by and living in poverty, some Americans spending 10 to 15% of their total annual income on energy costs alone.

Getting an annual tune up will keep your system Heating Oil for Your Home running more efficiently ensuring you get the most out of every gallon of heating oil burned. Getting your heating system serviced regularly is not only a safety issue, but it will also help you ensure the efficiency and longevity of your system. He noted inventories of heating oil, purchased at recent low prices, are now 21 percent higher than they were a year ago, providing a financial buffer should wholesale fuel prices unexpectedly shoot upward this winter.

He says low oil prices are making it challenging for residential natural gas providers to draw new customers. Heating assistance programs in all 50 states include the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization Assistance Program LIHEAP provides assistance in paying energy bills, while the Weatherization program provides for the installation of energy efficient improvements that reduce energy costs. Heating bills for homes using electricity should drop about 3 percent and natural gas about 10 percent, the Energy Department said. Heating oil and gasoline will all be influenced in price by supply and demand factors affecting crude oil.

Heating oil in Massachusetts tumbled to an average price of $2.49 a gallon in late August, down more than 30 percent from the same period a year earlier and selling in some parts of the state at less than $2 a gallon, according to the state Department of Energy Resources. Heating oil is a fuel used to heat domestic and commercial buildings which use oil-fired heating systems. Heating oil is a winter fuel mainly used in the northeastern United States, where 23% of that region's households use it as a primary space-heating fuel.

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