PORTLAND, Maine — Heating oil prices are near record highs according to Maine's Governor's Energy Office with just weeks until winter.
Staff do not see those prices dropping before the snow flies and temperatures plummet.
More than 60 percent of homes in Maine rely on heating oil. Maine is especially vulnerable to price changes in the global fossil fuel market because the state relies on fuels imported from out-of-state that get delivered by truck.
The GEO reports the average cost of heating oil in Maine is $4.38 per gallon. In September 2021,the price was under $3 per gallon.
K1, a kerosene fuel, sits at $5.32 per gallon. One viewer said she could not find any, and asked if Maine has a shortage of K1.
Is there a shortage of K1 in Maine?
It's true. Maine is experiencing a shortage of K1.
WHAT WE FOUND:
Representatives from both agencies said there is a lack of K1 available right now.
They told us supplies have been limited due to several factors, such as:
- The war in Ukraine
- Western countries boycotting Russian oil
- Refineries ratcheting back capacity
- Increased overall demand for jet fuel, which is almost identical to K-1
During the pandemic, when fewer people were flying, demand for jet fuel decreased, Summers said. That led fewer wholesalers to purchase it. As the pandemic eased and people began traveling more by plane, that demand increased without the kerosene in reserves.
Summers said he expects the supply of K-1 to come back in the coming weeks.
A Governor's Energy Office spokesperson said they are communicating with those in the fuel industry and individual fuel suppliers to address the K1 supply challenges and offer help to get more. They are also in touch with the federal government and state partners across the northeast.
Summers said his agency is working with the congressional delegation to make sure Maine's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, to get even more funding on top of the $8 million to Maine that Governor Janet Mills helped secure earlier this year.
He said the retailers we all buy from cannot change the cost, but they can help you with a payment plan if you tell them in advance.
"This will certainly be a winter when we all really try to watch what we use," Summers said.
With Federal forecasts expecting energy prices to remain high this winter, the Governor’s Energy Office has updated its winter heating resource guide to help Maine people and families take action to save money, improve their home’s energy efficiency, and find heating assistance if needed.
Mills also helped provide $800 in heating cost relief to nearly 13,000 low-income households to help pay for high energy costs.