Home heating oil prices are making headlines again.
As temperatures fall, an estimated four to five million households in the U.S. are bracing for higher home heating bills, especially in the Northeast region. Thousands of consumers in states like Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut should expect to pay 8 percent more for home heating oil this year – an estimated average of $1,850 per home, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
“The Northeast has relatively little refinery capacity and therefore relatively little production of distillate fuel oil, including heating oil, the EIA explains. Limited refinery capacity means that any temporary refinery closures – even routine maintenance – could result in reduced East Coast fuel supplies and increased prices.
Inventories are already well below average due to reduced refinery supply and increased consumption. America’s refiners have been working to restore national heating oil inventories, which fell to dangerous lows last year. But heating oil inventories are still hovering near historically low levels. Stockpiles are even more scarce in New England, the region with the highest concentration of U.S. heating oil customers.