Heating oil prices may drop along with gas prices this winter
We've been enjoying lower gas prices for a while now and as the home heating season gets closer, analysts say homeowners may also enjoy similar savings.
While we are still getting used to prices at the pump that have dipped below $2 per gallon in some places, we are beginning to see that trend carry over into heating oil prices, according to Eric DeGesero of the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey.
"Today they are in the $2.40-$2.50 a gallon range," DeGesero said of oil prices.
That's a big change from a year ago, when New Jersey heating oil was selling for about $3.50 per gallon. But DeGesero also said that during the last heating season, they fell into the upper $2 range.
"You are seeing increased domestic production and world demand stagnant," DeGesero said.
Some New Jersey heating oil consumers historically have been able to "lock in" a per-gallon price before the season begins. DeGesero says that is still doable.
"If you want a level of certainty as a consumer, you can certainly call around," he said.
He said many oil dealers offer these programs in the spring and close them out in the summer.
"If you are still interested, you might be able to find a dealer who might offer you one. As prices have become more volatile over the years, there is a fee to participate in these programs," DeGesero said. "And what that represents is the guarantee that we as consumers look for, the oil dealers has to go out and guarantee to be able to deliver at a price that you want and still be able, at the price that you contracted for, and still be able to protect the money they need to earn to operate their business."
The one, "wild card," according to DeGesero is the weather. A severe winter could see those lower heating oil and natural gas prices rise.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.