Last week, the Press Herald published an article highlighting the fact that home heating oil has neared yet another unprecedented high in cost, nearing $6 per gallon. Mainers across the state have felt the squeeze of energy costs this winter, as over 60 percent of Maine homes are still reliant on heating oil, the highest rate of any state in the nation.

I think it is important in this discussion to emphasize that the reason for this price spike is a volatile fossil fuel market. As long as we are dependent on oil and other fossil fuels, we will continue to experience big spikes in gas prices and energy costs. Let’s remember that this year’s jump in electricity prices was driven by natural gas price increases, too. There will always be complicating factors that affect supply and demand, but Maine’s reliance on fossil fuels is the true culprit.

We have to transition to clean energy if we hope to have cheap, reliable energy for Maine residents. Clean-energy sources like wind and solar can be produced in-state, benefiting Maine’s workforce and economy, while providing consistent, low-cost electricity to power heat pumps, electric cars and trucks, and energy sources for our businesses and residences.

Mainers cannot afford to rely on a global fossil fuel market for heating. Instead, we need to invest in the clean-energy solutions that will get us to a fossil fuel-free future.

Daniel Bartup

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