Home heating oil prices in Maine shot up to $5 or more per gallon late Tuesday, and it was unclear how much higher they might climb as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.

Prices charged by many oil delivery companies were up to 50 cents a gallon cheaper only a day earlier, according to MaineOil.com, an independent group that provides daily price updates for 30 oil companies in southern Maine.

All but eight of the listed companies were charging more than $5 per gallon late Tuesday, and the others were just a few cents below that price.

Prior to the invasion on Feb. 24, most heating oil companies in southern Maine were charging below $4 a gallon, according to the Governor’s Energy Office.

Prices at Atlantic Heating Co. in Portland have climbed every day for the past week or so, according to owner Bill Morrell. His father, Stan Morrell, started Atlantic in 1969, and the company serves about 4,000 customers from Portland to the Lakes Region.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Morrell said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “It has been horrible for us and for the people we serve. I’ve got little old ladies calling me on the phone and crying when they hear what the price is.”


The cost of a gallon of heating oil Tuesday night was $5.49 at Atlantic Heating – the price was $5.19 per gallon just that morning. Morrell said he tells customers he can’t guarantee that the price in place when they place an order will not increase by the time it is delivered.

“It’s going to be $6 per gallon by the end of the week,” Morrell said. “Our customers are upset and they are incredulous.”

The heating season in Maine typically ends in late April.

Morrell said President Biden’s decision Tuesday to ban U.S. oil imports from Russia will only make heating oil prices rise further. Russia is one of the biggest oil and gas producers in the world, and any disruptions stand to have a major impact on prices, although less than 10 percent of U.S. oil imports come from Russia.

“We will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war,” Biden declared, calling the new action a “powerful blow” against Russia’s ability to fund the ongoing offensive.

He warned that Americans will see oil and gasoline prices rise further, saying “defending freedom is going to cost.”

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