Heating oil costs are up — and that’s bad news for the Northeast
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As we get deeper into the winter season, those of us in the Northeast are starting to turn up the heat in our homes. And if you’ve checked out your energy bill lately, you’ve certainly noticed that the cost of that heat is significantly higher than it was last year — more than two-thirds higher according to the bureau of labor statistics.
More than a third of households in New England use heating oil to warm their homes in the winter. Stocks of the fuel there have fallen by nearly half over the past year, resulting in higher prices. Kevin Hack is an industry economist at the Energy Information Administration. He said many domestic refining facilities closed for maintenance in the fall and are just now coming back online.
“We don’t really estimate there’s going to be shortages,” he said. “But I mean, there is the potential, there’s always uncertainty that can contribute to escalating prices, right?”
The Federal government warned folks last month that they should expect to pay 45% more for heating oil this winter than last.
The Biden Administration put aside $4.5 billion in November to help cover some heating costs for residents, but Severin Borenstein at UC Berkeley’s Energy Institute said the government can only do so much.
“The levers the government can pull are extremely limited,” he said. “The diesel and heating oil problem in particular, is much tougher to address.”
He added that what happens in Russia and with Europe’s ongoing energy crisis will most certainly continue to have an effect on the prices folks in the northeast will be paying for fuel.
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