Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oil Prices are going UP UP UP!!

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 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.


  1. I don't know how you people up north do it, even though our summers are miserable and I have to turn on the ac to survive, $200 for 3-6 months is nothing compared to what you all are looking at. Good luck!

  2. Trust stinks. We have window a/c, that I use as sparingly as possible since that drives up the electric bill.

  3. Come live in Houston with us, Texas is way cheaper with lots of great jobs. You can purchase a brand new, energy efficient home for 175,000. Average utiliy bills $200 per month! and the weather is nice! yesterday was sunny in the 80's (will get very hot tho :(


  4. Mysti - I can somewhat relate. We rely on propane for our heat and the cost goes up and down with the oil prices. And as for electricity, living in a desert region, our electric bills are high as well.

  5. Wow, that's so expensive. Sorry to hear that. Could you go down even lower when no one is home or is that not a good idea? I've heard that every degree helps but I'm not sure how low is too low...

  6. we're going to pull out our old boiler this summer and switch to natural gas. in preparation we've stopped oil service...and we're its chilly at the moment, but we're not paying for heat and its actually not terrible--mid-50s most days (in the kitchen). From personal experience I'd drop the asleep/away temp on that programmable thermostat to low 60s / high 50s --you likely won't notice, except that you'll go through a tank a lot more slowly! trust me!! and if you do--whats an extra blanket now and then? :)

  7. While our heating oil bill is less than yours, our level pay amount jumped $20 at the end of the annual cycle. We can't cut costs there, as the monitor heater is set on 50 unless we have company (not very often).

    Add my husband's 120 mile/day commute for a paycheck, and we're doing more than our fair share to keep the fuel industry alive and kicking :(

    Frustrating, I know!!!