Slide 3 of 11
- Residential heating oil customers in the Northeast experienced a severe upsurge in prices in late January and early February this past winter.
- The general level of heating oil prices each year is largely a function of crude oil prices, and over the course of the heating season, prices will usually vary by about 10 cents per gallon. However, exceptions occur in unusual circumstances, such as very cold weather, large changes in crude oil prices, or supply problems.
- Although heating oil prices for East Coast consumers started this winter at similar levels to those in 1997, they had already risen nearly 21 cents per gallon through mid-January. With the continuing upward pressure from crude oil markets, magnified by a regional shortfall of heating oil supplies, residential prices rose rapidly to peak February 7.
- The problem was basically limited to the Northeast. The Midwest saw very little runup. From January 17 to the peak on February 7, Rhode Island prices rose 85 cents per gallon to peak at $2.04. The Mid-Atlantic rose over 76 cents per gallon, while the South Atlantic increased about 26 cents and the Midwest only increased about 10 cents.
New England includes: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont.
Mid-Atlantic includes: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania.