Last week the Governor’s Energy Office released a comparison of average prices for home heating oil and propane for the 2016-17 heating season, as well as the prior six years.

Maine had the lowest home heating oil prices in New England. While it’s great to see low prices helping keep Mainers warm, the real story is the reduction in average home heating oil usage. Due to advancements in boiler system technology, Mainers use half the amount of oil to heat their homes than they did 30 years ago, with the average annual consumption falling from 1,500 gallons in the 1980s to less than 700 today. Modern boilers, weatherization and efficient space heating have given Mainers the ability to reduce even more.

In addition, today’s home heating oil contains up to 5 percent biodiesel, with blends of 20-50 percent biodiesel available, making the fuel cleaner and increasingly renewable. Next year, heating oil will reduce its sulfur content from 5,000 parts per million (ppm) to 15 ppm, making the fuel the cleanest heating oil in the world and as clean as propane and natural gas.

Mainers choose to heat with home heating oil because it has been, and continues to be, the best value to them, notwithstanding what the government believes is best. Home heating oil has been less expensive than natural gas for 25 of the last 35 years, albeit at times the prices have been similar.

Jamie Py

President

Maine Energy Marketers Association

Brunswick