Heating oil may seem like a thing of the past for most people, but for 7.7 million Americans heating oil is what keeps their homes warm during the winter and now with the price of heating oil having reached $3.66 per gallon it could be a long cold winter for those people who depend on this type of heat.
With the entire country still suffering from high unemployment rates, and most families having already having cut their household budgets to the bone struggling to keep those heating oil tanks full may be more of a burden than many families can bear. Those that will be hardest hit are those people living in the northeast since the concentration of families relying on heating oil are mainly in this area.
For those who don’t know what heating oil is, it is a type of oil similar in looks to paraffin or kerosene and about the density of diesel fuel. Prior to the 1970s many homes used this type of heating. However, with the increase in efficiency of natural gas and electric furnaces heating oil became a “fossil fuel” in more ways than one. A relic of the past that most people have forgotten ever existed. Homes built since 1980 were never set up for heating oil use and more than half of the homes that rely on heating oil today were built before 1950.
A single story 1200 foot home in Connecticut may use conservatively, 100 gallons of heating oil in a months time making heating cost per month close to $400.00. This could well strap a family financially leaving them no money to fall back on in case of an emergency. This means that there are many families who will be cutting down on the amount of heating fuel they use this winter making their homes less than comfortable to spend time in.
For many families, this means a long cold winter with little sign of relief unless heating oil costs should suddenly drop which isn’t very likely. Those who are already feeling the cold have a long hard winter ahead as the coldest months of January and February still lie before them. Finding ways to supplement the heat from their heating oil furnaces may be necessary in order to survive the upcoming winter months. Some will turn to electric space heaters and others will simply try and tough it out hoping and praying this winter will be milder than most.