One of the unfortunate realities of living in New England and having an old home (100 years old last year!!!), is that we have oil heat and oil-based hot water. Our tank is a standard 275 gallon tank. Typically, we use about half a tank per month during the winter months, and about 3/4 of a tank for spring and summer. Fall is hit or miss.
We are on an auto fill plan, where the oil company just shows up on a schedule and fills the tank. We had a fill up yesterday....which will probably be the last fill up until Fall (probably October, maybe early November). We got 187 gallons. We can look back at the history, and this at first appears high, but we haven't had a fill up since mid February....so all in all, it is about right.
We are also on a budget plan. Our budget plan resets in June. We have two options: fixed rate, or capped rate. A fixed rate plan is just that...we lock in a price, and no matter what the oil prices do, that is what we pay. In a capped rate plan (which also has an additional charge associated with it), you lock in a rate, but if the price drops below your locked rate, you get the cheaper rate. They figure out the number of gallons you will typically use and pre-purchase the oil. The monthly charge is 1/11 of that, plus fees.
Last year we did fixed rate. We figured out that prices needed to drop 70 cents to make it worth the extra money for the capped plan. At that time, we locked in $2.999, and we felt it was unlikely for the price to drop that far and we couldn't justify paying the extra. Good call for us....because the rate never dropped at all.
Yesterday's fill up would have been $3.999 a gallon if we didn't have the fixed rate. This gives us an idea where the price is for our new budget plan....YIKES. In 2008 when rates were high, we were paying $517 a month!! Couple that with putting gas in two vehicles, and we were somewhere in the range of $1000 for oil and gas. That is just insane.
That also caused some of our credit card problems. We ran out of money. So gas went on a credit card....OFTEN.
Right now we are paying $207 a month (we had a credit last year). I did a rough calculation...and if the rate locked in at $3.999....before fees and such....we would be at about $400 a month for oil. If we do the capped rate plan, it will be closer to $430. I think we will have a credit again...which will drop the price some.
No matter how you look at it....our oil bill is going UP. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $150-$200. This really bites. We will probably do the capped plan, in hopes that oil prices will drop back down over the next year. Gonna have to find $150 more in the budget.....UGH.
And just so you know...we have a programmable thermostat already. It is set at 66 during the day when no one is home and overnight. 68 while we are awake.
CORRECTION: I double checked the program, and we are at 64 overnight.