If you think the price of gasoline is high, wait until the first cold snap of the season. Typically, home fuel oil is a seasonal product but the price is absolutely tied to the overall cost of crude oil. As the price of the raw material is now at an all time high, we can expect heating oil to also go up substantially from last year.
In many places the price of home heating oil is equivalent to the price of gasoline. This is interesting as the price of gasoline typically has between 45-55 cents in transportation taxes built into the price.
Heating Oil is a product that is actually created in the off season in the refineries that make gasoline during the winter. The way this works is simple. An oil refinery doesn’t make any money unless it’s making product. Even going full bore 100% of capacity which is almost impossible, the oil refineries throughout the country are unable to meet the demand for fuel or heating oil during the winter and gasoline in the summer. The answer to this dilemma, while also recognizing the need to keep the plant operating at peak efficiency is to make heating oil in the summer and store it in tanks for deliveries in the autumn and winter cold seasons. They also do the same in the colder winter months by manufacturing gasoline for use in the summer. This allows the oil company to keep the refinery operational while also turning out the products we depend on all year.
The one problem with this is that on top of the price of crude oil, they also need to guess right about the demand. To much fuel oil or gasoline at the end of the season and they lose money. To little and the price goes up even more. To make matters worse, they also need to base demand on the weather which as we know is unpredictable at best.
You can do you part by being as fuel efficient as possible when using either product. Consider a campaign of finding the drafts in your home and fixing them. Use blankets and heating pads to keep everyone warm in the evening. Turn down the thermostat at night and save even more. Quit heating that spare bedroom and put a towel at the bottom to limit cold air from entering the heating parts of your home. The less heating oil used, the less upward pressure on the price and the more we all save.