As the colder months approach, we continue our heating oil update for the season. Last year's winter was warmer than average and saw a continued drop in heating oil prices, but with a slight uptick toward the season close. Some forecasts predict a very cold and bitter winter. We will be following this closely throughout the season.
We've used data based on the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which publishes price data weekly on home heating oil in 38 states by dollar per gallon before taxes. Unlike natural gas and electricity, home heating oil is provided by independent retailers.
The latest price for home heating oil nationwide is $2.39, up a penny from last week.
EIA's heating oil data is seasonal – from October through March. Here's a look at the series since its inception in 1990.
Here's a closer look since 2000.
EIA breaks the data down into regions and sub-regions. Here we've overlayed the US average with the East Coast and Midwest regions. Notice that Midwest prices tend to be much lower than East coast prices and see more dramatic declines. Currently the East Coast is seeing $2.39 while the Midwest is at $2.11.
Another figure EIA tracks is the residential oil supply. The chart below shows the minimal changes in residential heating oil supply since 1990 and that supply does not determine prices in this case.
The next chart shows the New York Harbor (NYMEX:HO) spot prices going back to 1986.
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