Oil prices continue to slide in Maine, a reflection of falling crude oil prices.

Findings from an Aug. 24 poll released by the Governor’s Energy Office Thursday showed the statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $2.08 per gallon, down 9 cents from two weeks ago. Prices ranged from a high of $2.39 in southwest Maine to a low of $1.74 in southwest, eastern and western parts of the state.

According to the federal Energy Information Administration, U.S. crude oil inventories remain extremely high, at levels not seen (in August) for the last 80 years and refineries are operating at near maximum capacity. The glut is affecting gasoline prices, which are also falling, in Maine.

Average kerosene and propane prices also followed the same trend; the average statewide kerosene price this week was $2.67 per gallon (9 cents lower) and the average statewide propane price for heating customers was $2.21, another 4 cents lower than two weeks ago.

Patrick Woodcock, director of the energy office, sees current oil prices as an opportunity for Mainers.

“Heating oil prices this low are freeing up dollars that Maine households can use to invest in energy efficiency and heating system upgrades,” he said in the release. “When prices rise again, those investments will pay dividends. Now is the time to plan ahead.”

The state uses a formula to compare heating values for various forms of fuel. To produce a common unit of heat using oil costs $15. That compares with $12.50 for natural gas; $24.20 for propane; $19.78 for kerosene; $15.39 for wood pellets; $12.95 for wood and $38-$55 for electricity, according to the release.

The energy office has a calculator on its web site that allows consumers to obtain more detailed estimates of home heating costs, and the price impacts of various types of fuel, heating systems and heating appliances at www.maine.gov/energy. Efficiency Maine has a similar calculator at www.efficiencymaine.com.

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