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Low home heating oil prices mean big savings for New England residents

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NEW HAVEN--The weather may be turning colder, but don't expect your oil prices to go up.

Home heating oil prices in Connecticut are down approximately $1.20 per gallon, according Chris Herb, president of the Energy Marketers Association of Connecticut. And they're expected to stay down.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says lower energy prices and a warmer winter forecast will mean savings of 25 percent for heating oil users over last winter.

Jennifer Tracey-Carlo, owner of Tracey Energy Services, of New Haven, says her company is extremely busy due to the lowest price per gallon they’ve been able to offer customers in nearly 10 years. At $2.349 per gallon, she says her average residential customer will save between $150 and $200 per fill up. With four to five fill ups per winter, that amounts to a significant savings per household.

Right now, there is an oversupply of oil worldwide, leading to a reduction in prices globally. But, when might this bubble burst?

“The fundamentals of the market say that prices should be lower heading into this season and throughout the season and some predict for the next couple of years,” said Herb.

However, some are worried that the trend may lead to complacency, which could lead to a reduction in business for the natural gas industry. Because there are price spikes for natural gas users due to inadequate natural gas pipeline capacity in New England, and because people will be saving so much money on heating oil, it will be challenging for residential natural gas providers to draw new customers.

But there's even more good news for oil customers who want to save a few extra dollars. Since you will be saving money on oil costs, it may give you the leeway to help ensure that those prices stay down in the long run. To save even more money over time, Herb suggests having a licensed heating oil technician test your equipment's efficiency, which can reduce you heating bill by up to 10 percent. And, there are ways to pocket an additional 30 to 40 percent.

“This is a really good time to look at other conservation measures, like insulation and tightening up the house,” said Herb.

In the last year alone, home heating oil has become a much better option than natural gas, he says, because its sulfur content has been reduced by 87 percent.

“In New Haven, there is a bio diesel production facility where it is proactively being blended into heating oil, making heating oil now the cleanest fossil fuel available,” added Herb.

There is now even a renewable component to home heating oil, which comes from hamburger and french fry grease, he says.

According to a report to Congress in the spring, heating oil it is now the cleanest fuel to heat with, says Herb.