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September 24, 2015

Price for heating oil in Maine drops to lowest point since 2004

Heading into the winter, the average price of home heating oil is lower than it's been in a decade, falling below $2 per gallon in the Governor's Energy Office's most recent heating fuel survey.

The survey released Wednesday found the average price of No. 2 was $1.99 per gallon, down 9 cents since late August. Kerosene and propane prices also declined since late August, dropping to $2.56 and $2.14 per gallon, respectively.

Since February 2014, when the average price was $3.88, heating oil prices have dropped steeply. But whether the price will keep dropping during the winter months is uncertain, said Lisa Smith, senior planner at the energy office.

She said the global price of crude oil has recently creeped upward, but the the overall market is still oversupplied with oil.

Historically, heating oil prices have increased as winter progresses, maxing out at the end of February or beginning of March, Smith said. But that didn't happen last year.

Smith said she's recently been getting calls from people asking her whether they should buy heating oil now or hold out for a lower price, but she doesn't have an answer. Although "prices are darn good now," she said, they could go up anytime.

"It just depends on how risk-averse you are at this point," Smith said. "If you don't mind being a little risky and waiting, it's up to you."

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