Rising Heating Oil Costs Complicate Staying Warm in Winter's Final Weeks

Heating oil, like gasoline, has become even more expensive amid Russia's war on Ukraine, and Action for Boston Community Development is hoping for assistance from the federal government

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Like gasoline, heating oil is selling at an all-time high, and that's hurting people in the cold weather.

John Drew heads Action for Boston Community Development, or ABCD. The organization provides assistance to the needy, and their heating oil fund has run dry.

"Two-hundred seventy-five gallons times $6 is a lot of money, and people don't have it," he said. "And we don't have it for them right now because they've already used up the benefit they had as the price has been going up."

He's hoping more money is coming from the federal government.

"President Biden said in December, others have said it, we have doubled the LIHEAP program," he said. "That's what we use. Federal LIHEAP program was doubled. We haven't seen that money."

The reason for the spike is obvious.

"The Ukraine crisis turned the energy market upside down," said Michael Ferrante, who heads the Massachusetts Energy Marketers Association.

At a time of year when heating oil should be getting cheaper, the price is going the other way. The latest data from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has the average price of heating oil at $5.02, with the high at $6. That's up more than a dollar a gallon from last week, and more than $2 than a year ago. And the volatility even has the oil dealers guessing.

Ferrante talks to them every day.

"It's not unusual for them over the last couple of weeks to see three to four price changes per day from their suppliers which is unprecedented," he said.

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