Home heating costs expected to rise this winter
The per-gallon cost of gasoline in Connecticut has come back down to within a few cents of where it was a year ago, but home heating oil remains very expensive as temperatures drop.
Local economists say market forces are to blame for heating oil prices staying high as gasoline prices fall.
Quinnipiac University economics professor Stephen Antoinetti says oil companies have no incentive to ramp up production in the face of booming profits.
A recent Bloomberg report indicated that oil companies are making more in the last year than they have in the past 10 years.
The cost of heating your home is only expected to rise as the winter months press on.
"Heating oil, from what I've read throughout the winter, will increase by about 40%. Natural gas prices might increase by about 20%," said Antoinetti.
Antoinetti says prices are impossible to predict, but that locking in your rate now is likely to save you money.
The federal government released $1 billion more in home heating assistance this week. Antoinetti says homeowners have little choice but to pay the bill.
"There's always the option of insulating your homes or moving to warmer climates, I guess. But barring that, there's not really much else we can do," said Antoinetti.
A gallon of heating oil will cost on average $4.67 in Connecticut this week, up more than a $1.60 from this time last year.