No one knows what is going to happen with the gas and oil prices. All I know is that they just keep going UP. I have talked many times about 2008, when the prices were high (and those were lower than now!!) and we were paying $517 a month for heating oil. OUCH. In the end, the company adjusted for the large credit we had once the price came down (we had price protection).
I spoke to the oil company this morning, as our budget plan expires at the end of this month. Right now, we have about a $400 credit, but we will have the tank topped off (at a rate of $2.99/gal) at the end of the month, which will leave about a $200 credit (which equates to about $18 off per month for the next year).
Now comes the debate of the moment....when to lock in a rate for the next year.
Currently, the rate is $4.19/gal (plus a $0.30/gal fee for price protection....bring us to $4.49/gal). If we lock in now....it will come out to about $430 a month for oil (plus cleaning of the furnace). If the per gallon rate continues to go up, we won't have to pay more than this price...and if it falls, we will get the lower price per gallon, however we may still need to pay the higher rate and end up with a big credit again (unless they adjust it again, like in 2008).
We are paying $207 now....so we are looking at double the current amount.
However, if the price drops, and we wait to lock it in....we would be looking at a much lower payment. Of course, the flipside is if the prices go up, then we will be kicking ourselves that we didn't lock in at $4.19.
The "plan" right now is to wait and see what happens. We can start our new budget year whenever we want. So if we see the rates drop...we can pull the trigger. If the prices continue to go up, we can ride it out until we are closer to needing to get oil (which would probably be October).
In the meantime, we will raise our oil budget to $300/month and just put it in an ING account to hold onto it. This way, we have a little bit of a slush fund for this, plus there is a chance that if the rate drops, we may be able to prebuy our oil and get a better rate.
Would you gamble it? Would you lock in now?