home heating oil

‘It's a Killer': Conn. Homeowners Reliant on Heating Oil Paying More Per Gallon

One man from Lakeville said he spent his entire month's social security check to fill a tank of oil, about four times the price he paid a year ago.

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Like prices at the pump, people who rely on oil for their homes may notice it’s costing a lot more.

In Connecticut, some people are spending twice as much per gallon for a tank of oil than they were a year ago.

Fuel oil dealers point to the war in Ukraine for driving up prices and creating a situation the country hasn’t seen in a long time.

"We are genuinely in that first war-time energy-economy that we've seen since World War II, where global prices are having such a profound impact on prices,” said Connecticut Energy Marketers Association President Chris Herb.

Chris Herb leads CEMA. He said the price impact, which is most visible at gas stations, is widespread. Panic at the pump also means panic at home now that crude oil prices are around $110 per barrel.

"That all flows down to the price we pay for home heating oil, for gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuel. Especially because Europe is so contingent upon diesel,” Herb said.

Around the state, it is putting a strain on peoples’ budgets. John Sullivan of Lakeville uses oil to heat his home and for hot water. But recently, he spent his entire month's social security check for a single tank of heating oil.

He said the same fill-up last year was $450.

“When you have to shell out $1,600 for a tank of oil or even more depending on how empty your tank is, it's just a killer if you're on a fixed income,” Sullivan said.

The problem is prompting another man to take a closer look at his bill.

"Usually, you're not down to buying more oil at this time, but obviously with the price of oil and everything, I've been looking into what I’m going to be paying now and in the future,” said Garry Fappiano of Wallingford.

Fappiano said he used to pay a little more than $3 per gallon for oil. Now, he is paying close to double. Sullivan just paid $6.29 per gallon for his tank of oil.

"You're looking at close to $850 to $1,000 to get a refill so buying ahead and seeing the different rates that are out there is the best thing to do,” Fappiano said. 

Despite previous events that have spiked prices, CEMA’s president said he has never seen price levels this high.

"Whether it was Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, lots of different things where we've seen prices fly, but we've never really seen this sort of sustained increase,” Herb said.

Herb said until the war in Ukraine is resolved, there may not be much relief in the short term. However, help is available, including the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program.

"So, for a family of four, you could be earning up to $75,000,” said Peter Handler with CT Department of Social Services.

The program works to support people with their electric, gas or heating bills regardless of your heating source.

Handler said there is still time to apply for assistance, as the application's deadline has been extended to June 30.

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