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Relationship of falling gas prices to home heating


Like most homeowners who commute to work every day and have many errands to run throughout the week, you likely keep an eye on gasoline prices every time you drive past a gas station or stop to fuel up. Small differences in the cost per gallon add up pretty quickly when you are topping off your tank multiple times each week. The recent trend of lowered automobile fuel prices leads some people to wonder how they might affect home heating costs.

It turns out that the good news at the pump should mean good news for homeowners as well. U.S. Energy Information Administration Administrator Adam Sieminski was quoted as saying that, "Despite cold winter temperatures during November and early January for much of the country, lower fuel prices are expected to help cut home heating bills compared to last winter," in a recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

For comparison, here are some sample figures to shed some light on the subject. Residential heating oil costs in Virginia averaged $2.88 per gallon in January, according to the latest statistics from the EIA. This is 22 percent lower (80 cents per gallon) from the previous year. What's more, the cost of heating oil across the United States plummeted to less than $3 a gallon, a low point not seen since November 2010, noted the agency.

At the same time, the price of gasoline has gone down almost 40 percent since the previous year, according to information from travel group AAA Mid-Atlantic. When you look at the costs of heating fuel on a wholesale basis, the outlook is even better. Wholesale prices of heating oil were about $1.68 on average in Virginia (not including taxes), representing a drop of 45 percent over the previous year. Prices at the pump in Virginia were down almost the same amount, dropping to approximately 40 percent.

So there is a correlation between falling gas prices to fuel your car and the heating oil costs you incur to keep your home nice and cozy during the winter.

It's worth keeping in mind the fact that supply and demand is another important factor in oil costs. After all, most people use heating oil for their home during the winter and usage drops off during the warmer seasons. When demand is high, you can always expect prices to rise accordingly.

At David Gray Heating & Air, we know that our customers want to get the most out of their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The issue of falling gas prices and how it affects home heating costs reminds us that we can run our HVAC systems much more efficiently (and save money) by making sure that they are always well maintained.

If it's been a while since you've had an HVAC professionalcome to your home to inspect and clean your heating and air conditioning system, you should make arrangements as soon as possible. Keeping your HVAC system in top condition ensures that you will not be losing money due to inefficiencies. For more information or to set up an appointment for service, please call the experts at David Gray Heating & Air today.