Getting the best deal for home heating oil

September 30, 2011 3:18:18 PM PDT
It's that time of year to fill up with home heating oil.

Marilyn spreads the pain of paying for fuel, that's hovering around $4 a gallon.

"We pay year round maybe $250 a month so you don't feel the big, $600, $700, God knows what it will be this year per month," said Marilyn Saunders, a Ridgefield Park resident.

Chris Behrens, Vice President of Dowling Fuel says prices compared to last year are up about 60 or 70 cents, but trending downwards, because the country's still hurting.

"With a weak economy, that's causing weak demand, which is why you're seeing some of the price reduction," Behrens said.

Many companies give homeowners the option of locking in a price, so if the cost of fuel increases, they stay at the lower price.

But Chris says that might not be the best option, at least not right now.

"What happens if prices go down after the fact? The consumer is stuck with the fixed price, so they're not going to benefit if the price goes down," Behrens said.

A better option he says, with these fluctuating rates, is to pay a fee and cap your price. You'll never pay above the cap.

"If $4.00 is the cap, you pay the cap price. If it goes down, they'll benefit with a lower price," Behrens said.

Marilyn replaced her old boiler with a new, more efficient one, instead of converting to gas. She didn't see the point.

"What I find is, if oil goes up, gas goes up, if oil skyrockets, gas skyrockets, gas prices go up anyway," Saunders said.

How long will prices tick down? Will they go up when it gets colder and demand increases? Or will the economy keep prices low. Believe me, Eyewitness News tried to get a clue for you.

"Unfortunately, nobody has the crystal ball. If we knew what prices would do over the next 6 months, we'd say, yes cap or no don't cap, but no one has the crystal ball," Behrens said.

Chris says it's worth it though to ask your oil provider.