Right time to buy... heating oil?

A worker pumps heating oil into a home.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Now that it's nice and hot out, it's a great time to think about heating oil. I'm not kidding. This is the time when homeowners can lock down heating oil prices for next winter. But it's a gamble, as Steve Tripoli explains.


Steve Tripoli: Shane Sweet with the industry group New England Fuel Institute says locking in your oil price early makes sense given recent history.

Shane Sweet: If you looked at it over the past 10 years, I think most dealers would tell you that it's generally been a smart thing to do.

But there are no guarantees. Many of last year's lock-in customers lost money when the price of oil fell late last winter.

Still, Sweet says there's a lot to be said for knowing your price in advance.

Sweet: It's about budgeting. I think it's about peace of mind.

So, are lots of folks buying peace of mind this year?

Sweet: The interest doesn't seem to be as high as it has been in years past. But after you've had a relatively warm winter, that's not uncommon.

But last year's weather isn't a good guide to upcoming oil prices. The better question is how much you want or need price stability.

Right now, the government's predicting that heating oil will cost around $2.59 early next year.

I'm Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.

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