Posted by: Chris Maloney | March 23, 2012

Which is Better, Oil or Electric, For Heating Your Home?

Evolution of heating oil price in France in Eu...

Evolution of heating oil price in France in Euro between 1990 and 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the annual discussion about electic vs. oil, things have changed.

We have numbers for average costs in 2004.

The average Maine family uses approximately 1000 gallons of heating oil in a season.

If they use electricity, the average annual heating use of Mainers is 8487 Kwh.

Back in 2004, the average cost of heating oil was $1.32 a gallon.  (Tripled since then.)

Now it runs about $3.79.   So in 2004, a thousand gallons was $1,320.  Now it’s $3,790.

Electricity is harder.

8487 Kwh.  We need to factor in the first 100 Kwh per month at a fixed rate.  Figuring six months of winter heating, 600 Kwh runs about 51.18.  The rest of the amount, 7887 Kwh, is roughly .060278 per Kwh.  That gives me a total of about 475.41 + 51.18= 526.59 for the electricity.  But then the delivery is extra.  I estimate that at about 0.08 per Kwh.  That gives me 0.08 x 8487 = 678.96

So total cost of electricity is 526.59 + 678.96 = $1205.55.  It used to be very comparable with oil costs, but not anymore.  Now electricity is much less expensive.

Now, I’d love to see the arguments on the other side.  I think when things were a toss up back in 2001 everybody decided oil was easier and cost about the same.  Now I want to see recent numbers that would justify using oil.



  1. […] So those are my fears.  Let’s look at a really interesting graph from the Bangor Natural Gas site.  It looks like I need about 33 kwh of electricity to equal one therm of natural gas.  A therm will cost me…well, I don’t know.  I found this disturbing concept at Maine Natural Gas: “Customers have the opportunity to choose between two commodity price options: monthly Index Price Option (IPO) or a term of one or two-year Fixed Price Option (FPO). The IPO for November 2013 is $0.5650. Effective September 1, 2013 the FPO rate for one year will be $0.8344.” So it will cost me somewhere between 57 and 84 cents per therm.  I need to know how much the same thing would cost me in electrical heat.  84 cents divided by 33.  I’d be paying 2.545 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity to heat my home.  When I did the math on electricity versus oil, I came up with about 8 cents per Kwh (see post here, electricity wins) […]

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