Mirabito Answers Your Frequently Asked Questions

How does fuel oil compare to propane and natural gas?

Fuel oil has a higher BTU, or amount of heat produced per gallon (or gallon equivalent) than propane or natural gas. So, even though the price per gallon of propane or that equivalent of natural gas may be lower, you will need more of it to produce the same amount of heat – 50% more propane and 40% more natural gas, to be exact.

What is the driving factor in heating oil prices?

If refiners, wholesalers, dealers and consumers have enough heating oil in storage and temperatures do not drop rapidly, prices hold fairly steady (assuming crude oil prices are also not changing much). However, a rapid change to colder weather can impact both supply and demand; people want more fuel at the same time that harbors and rivers are frozen or delivery systems are interrupted. During this time, the available heating oil in storage is used much faster than it can be replenished. Refineries normally cannot keep up with demand during these cold periods.

Who uses heating oil?

Of the 107 million households in the United States, approximately 8.0 million use heating oil as their main heating fuel. Residential space heating is the primary use for heating oil, making the demand highly seasonal. Most of the heating oil use occurs from October through March. The area of the country most reliant on heating oil is the Northeast.