The Autumn Dilemma for Heating Oil Consumers

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October is a funny month. One day we can be basked in warm sunshine and wondering how long this 'extended summer' can last, and the next day we're wrapped up in woollies and worried whether snow is on the way. For those of us reliant on heating oil to keep warm, there is an extra problem: when is the right time to stock up for the winter?

Oil prices can fluctuate wildly, and they can also be obstinate about falling. Despite economic worries, global demand is high and there are long-term fears over oil supplies. During 2011 the retail price hasn't fallen below 55p/L or thereabouts, and as the nights draw in and day-time temperatures drop, we need to think seriously about stocking up. The golden rule around this time of year is to make sure that you have enough to get through the winter. Check back through your old invoices to try and gauge how much oil you might use, and double-check your tank for its current level. (You are already checking your tank every week or so anyway, in case of thefts or spillages - right?)

The way prices are, I would recommend buying as little heating oil as you think you need to get through the winter. There is the natural expectation of price spikes over winter, but it's likely that post-winter prices will return to current levels. It didn't happen after last winter, after the shockingly-high price hikes, but let's hope that this was exceptional behaviour.

If course, if you usually need to buy oil mid-way through the winter season, then you're probably best off filling up your tank right now. Prices really aren't about to dip before winter!

Get yourself into an oil buying group straight away if you can; otherwise, get on the phone and hit the suppliers for your area!


by angela on 18 October 2011 Reply
what annoys me is that people in rural areas are going to get subsidised as they need oil, we live in a town and we cant get gas into our street unless we pay heavily to get it installed into our street then get a new heating system installed for gas we should all get subsidised if we already have it installed.There isnt a fuel group in Scotland that I can join either.
by colin on 27 October 2011 Reply
I dont know where you get the idear that us in the rural countryside gets subsidised??? i live away from town where its very much colder than intown but take it from me we pay the same as you,we ALL get ripted off the same.!!!!!
by howard hirst on 18 October 2011 Reply
Oil prices don't fluctuate wildly for the consumer they just go up--I.m not sure what your site does for oil users that they cant do for themselves- guess the site makes money through advrtising
by howard hirst on 18 October 2011 Reply

I'd love to --right between their greedy little eyes!!

by howard hirst on 18 October 2011 Reply
It really doesn't matter what you do--you can try every trick in the book---join clubs, order in summer etc but the facts are that, just as with other forms of energy, the price rarely comes down when oil prices drop but continue to rise even when oil prices don't. These tips are like my electric supplier who sends me a bill with advice on how to save on electric---THE ONLY WAY WE CAN SAVE ON ALL THIS IS IF THE BASTARDS DROP THERE PRICES---end of!!!!!!!!!!
by Chris Cole on 18 October 2011 Reply
Dave - that may happen to you but I have encouraged all our group members to order as a minimum the 500 Ltrs, however all our members still pay the same price regardless of total delivered - surplus oil is a bonus as it could lead towards another delivery if required
by Dave Dale on 18 October 2011 Reply
Perhaps you could also mention any punishing extra tarrifs for trying to order less than the minimum amounts from the Oil suppliers. And, charging for taking back any surplus kerosene, when your tank only takes 600 rather than 700 litres for example?

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