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Why is home heating oil so expensive?

January 24, 2011

Analysts said investors called "speculators" are driving up the price of home heating oil.

Charles and Mary Kresge of Duncannon were looking for affordable home heating oil back in October after the oil dealer that extended credit to them went out of business. Luckily, a church came to the rescue and bought some oil for them.

"We just can't afford it... it's too high,' said Mary Kresge. " I don't know what [people] are going to do. So I'm praying that we get help."

Soon they'll be faced with an empty tank again - and prices are even higher. The price for home heating oil across the country now averages $3.45 a gallon. Last year at this time it was only $2.95 a gallon.

John Kulick of the Pennsylvania Petroleum Dealers Association said there's plenty of heating oil to go around. "It would not be based on supply," said Kulick. "It's really a question of what policy makers see in terms of the market."

He said Congress still has not agreed on a way to control the activities of investors called oil speculators. Enough of them invest in home heating oil, hoping for a profit, that they impact the market and the price.

The Kresge's do not qualify for help from the state with their heating bill, but some people do. It's called LIHEAP. Go to You can also call 1-866-857-7095.

Click here to read the full story from WHTM-TV

National Oilheat Research Alliance ECC is funded in part through the National Oilheat Research Alliance.