Heating Oil Prices
February 1, 2005 10:11 AM   Subscribe

HeatingOilFilter: We are paying $2.19 a gallon in the Northwest. Is this average now?

And on a more meta level, Why are gas and oil prices so high? Is our war helping or hurting?
posted by icetaco to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Republicans will say it's helping.
Democrats will say it's hurting.

I personally feel the bigger driver is the industrialization of China. They are sucking in all the oil they can get right now. Supply and demand.
posted by Doohickie at 10:25 AM on February 1, 2005

Wow, your heating oil is cheap! Actually, the oil/propane people are working in an unregulated market, so the price fluctuates all the hell over the place AND they can charge you more if you don't have one of their special package deals. I got some propane [similar price range, not completely the same] recently before I knew this and was charged a mind-blowing $3.50/gallon. Fortunately the nice lady at the oil company let me sign up for the special lock-in rate [pay $40 to have the rate capped for the year hovering around $2.15 or so] and re-estimated my rates but DAMN. Check here to see how your rates compare to the national averages. Here are Vermont's fuel prices, for comparison.
posted by jessamyn at 10:38 AM on February 1, 2005

Yep. From what I understand, China is trying to do an end run around OPEC and cut deals with specific countries. If any nation has the power to break OPEC, they do.
posted by kindall at 10:40 AM on February 1, 2005

The war is helping in that it is making available a large quantity of oil that was previously locked up under the sanctons and Oil for WhateverYouCanGetAwayWith program. But the cost of extracting the oil (cost of war + cost of fixing infrastructure that keeps getting damaged + uncertainty factor) is helping to keep a barrel of oil near US $50 / gallon.

What may surprise many people is that this creats nearly ideal conditions for the development of bridge-type alternative energy products. Moving over to the hydrogen economy or a fully electric economy will take too long. But direct petroleum-product alternatives like Ethanol and BioDiesel becomes vastly more attractive in this climate.

You can replace your heating oil with BioDiesel. The only issues to look out for are (1) natural rubber seals and (2) filtering the petro-diesel sludge out as you make the changeover. Also, BioDiesel prices are still all over the place, so it won't solve your cost issue right *now*, but it could in a few years.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:26 AM on February 1, 2005

We're paying a comparable rate right now in Boston (nearly a dollar more per gallon than last year). We received a letter from our oil company president; he felt the current high cost was not a supply issue and had more to do with speculation among wholesale suppliers. Fortunately we had some work done on the furnace, and we seem to be using less oil.

As to biodiesel, that sounds interesting. In terms of natural rubber seals, do I want them or not want them?
posted by jalexei at 11:34 AM on February 1, 2005

$1.95 to $1.97 on my morning commute in Metro Detroit.

For real-time US prices, try the Gas Buddy Network.
posted by pmurray63 at 12:04 PM on February 1, 2005

Whoops, they cover Canada as well.
posted by pmurray63 at 12:05 PM on February 1, 2005

pmurray63, we're talking about heating oil, but thanks, that site is very cool.
posted by jalexei at 12:24 PM on February 1, 2005

Biodiesel acts as a mild solvent, and eats natural rubber and petrodiesel sludge. So you do not want natural rubber seals in your heating system. You can mix biodiesel with petrodiesel at any rate. Many people use 20% biodiesel in their diesel vehicles, and Chrysler will be shipping new Diesel Jeeps with 5% biodiesel in the fuel tanks.

Google around for "biodiesel heating" and similar terms, and you will find a ton of information. The US Military did a study on BioDiesel heating and found that after the initial issues with petrodiesel sludge clogging up the filters, their heating systems were cleaner than they had ever been before.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:27 PM on February 1, 2005

Apparently in 2002, the US government signed a contract to buy B20 BioDiesel at $0.82 / gallon! Obviously a price like that isn't possible today, due to the higher of petrodiesel.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:31 PM on February 1, 2005

Whoops again. Sorry I misread the original question ... but glad at least one of you found the site worthwhile anyway.
posted by pmurray63 at 12:43 PM on February 1, 2005

Economic development in Asia, yep.

Also note the illustrious Terror Premium of ~$10/barrel
posted by fourstar at 4:45 PM on February 1, 2005

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