Cost to heat homes this winter up nearly 50% for some Vermonters

As with other necessities, the cost of heating houses will increase this winter.

Fuel oil trucks dominate the Vermont heating industry. Most households heat with oil (41.4%). In counties of Bennington and Rutland, that number rises to 62.3%.

The price of heating oil in New York Harbor, the reference wholesale price for oil shipped to New England, was $ 2.25 a gallon on Tuesday.

That’s roughly what Scott Sullivan pays at Rutland Station, where the oil comes from Canada, and at wholesalers in Albany, New York.

Sullivan is the managing partner of Rutland Fuel. His company’s four trucks supply around 1,500 customers with oil.

He said he paid about 50 percent more for heating oil than last year.

“At some point in September it really started to accelerate well into October and it went up almost like a straight line in October,” Sullivan told VTDigger. “We are up about a dollar (a gallon) than we were a year ago.”

He said this is both wholesale and retail.

Sullivan said he billed his customers $ 2.20 a gallon last year and $ 3.20 this year.

It charges less than the average retail price for heating oil in Vermont, which is $ 3.27 per gallon.

The standard home tank, Sullivan said, is 275 gallons, so the cost of filling one tank has increased by about $ 275 in a year.

Chittenden County is the county where most households do not depend on heating oil. Because 57.6 percent of households are heated with natural gas.

Natural gas is Vermont’s second largest source of heat; 18.6 percent of Vermont households use it for heating, everything comes from Vermont gas.

Only three of Vermont’s 14 counties have access to natural gas.

Vermont’s gas comes through the Trans-Canada Pipeline and across the border at Highgate. From there it is distributed to 53,000 residential and business customers in Franklin, Chittenden and Addison Counties.

Since Vermont Gas only imports natural gas into Vermont, pricing information is proprietary and the government’s official source for energy pricing research, the Energy Information Agency, is holding back current wholesale prices that come across the border at Highgate.

The price of natural gas for households in Vermont was 2 percent higher than in August in August, the last month the agency paid.

Vermont Gas did not respond to an email request for an interview.

Almost as many households, 18.4 percent, are heated with bottled gas as they are with Vermont gas. In Lamoille County that number rises to 26.6 percent of households.
Propane costs $ 3.55 a gallon on average in Vermont, 30 percent more than last Thanksgiving.

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