Oil cost impacts heating fuel, diesel

News

August 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Agriculture reports the price of heating oil rose thirty cents from the mid July report on the fuel. Analyst Harold Hommes, says heating oil is one of the products that is impacted by world oil demand. He says the price of heating oil is tied to oil and there’s been a “general tightening of distillate market.” Hommes says most people notice the issue in higher gasoline prices, but he says the thing to watch this fall is the impact on diesel prices. Hommes says there are a couple of factors involved.

“Turnarounds in the industry, the industry calls those basically shutdowns for improvements, upgrades to their facilities. Some of that is going on right now causing prices to bump up a little bit on both gasoline and diesel,” according to Hommes. He says refineries are also starting to switch over to winter blends, which impacts the price. The increase in heating oil may not have as big an impact on Iowans, but many still use it for heat. “Natural gas is clearly the product of choice…for most of us. Heating oil is still a very common and much in demand product, certainly out east. And certainly here even in the midwest to a lesser extent,” according to Hommes.

The good news in heating fuels continues to be the lower cost of natural gas and propane. Natural gas prices fell 42 cents in the most recent heating fuel survey.  “It’s been absolutely amazing watching the fall and we seem to be hovering with natural gas prices. We broke that two-dollar mark months ago and it has gone back up a bit…we’re still staying at near decade lows on the natural gas side. Propane seems to have fallen considerably since our last report just a month ago,” Hommes says. Propane prices were at one-dollar-29-cents a gallon.

(Radio Iowa)