McClaughry: The heating oil price crunch

By John McClaughry

According to the Energy Information Administration, the price of heating oil, a fuel most commonly used in New England to heat homes, has gone up by 65% since October 2021. Counting propane and kerosene, 58% of Vermont households rely on petroleum heating fuels, other than natural gas.

Vermont Fuel Dealers Association

Heating oil fuel tank

The average price for the heating oil was $5.46 per gallon in October 2022 compared to $3.30 in October 2021. Inventories of distillate fuel oil, which is refined to produce diesel and heating oil, are at their lowest levels since 2008, causing the Biden administration to propose forcing fuel vendors to maintain a minimum amount of fuel in their tanks in order to prevent severe shortages.

How the government forcing fuel distributors to have more fuel in their tanks creates more fuel is more than I can understand.

Although East Coast refineries are running at close to full capacity, regional refining capacity has been squeezed in recent years, exacerbating the nation’s shortage of heating oil, according to the agency.

Meanwhile, the brilliant voters of Vermont just elected a legislature two thirds of whose members can hardly wait to pass a Clean Heat Standard to drive up the cost of home and business heating fuel. That’s the carbon pricing scheme designed to force people to get rid of their oil heat to save the planet, and coincidentally use the higher fuel price revenues to subsidize some lucky people to buy electric heat pumps.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/JP Valery and Vermont Fuel Dealers Association

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