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About Fuel: Propane and Heating Oil

Propane heating

Illustration created by Rohith M S

Propane

Propane (molecular formula C3H8) is normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for residential central heating, engines, oxy-gas torches and portable stoves.

Propane is a clean-burning nonrenewable fossil fuel. Like natural gas (methane), propane is colorless and odorless. Although propane is nontoxic and odorless, foul-smelling mercaptan is added to it to make gas leaks easy to detect.

In North America, local delivery trucks with an average cylinder size of 3,000 US gallons (11,000 L), fill up large cylinders that are permanently installed on the property, or other service trucks exchange empty cylinders of propane with filled cylinders. 

 

Heating oil 

Heating oil is a low viscosity, liquid petroleum product used as a fuel for furnaces or boilers in buildings. Home heating oil is often abbreviated as HHO.
Heating oil is known in the United States as No. 2 heating oil. In the U.S., it must conform to ASTM standard D396

Have questions about heating oil or propane, choosing the right vendor, or heating your home economically?
See our collection of tips and articles:

A dramatic rise in the cost of heating oil over the past several months has been shocking to sellers and customers alike. “We had never seen above $4 (per gallon), and cleared $4 and $5 this year,” said Jared Trinks, manager of Trinks Brothers Oil in Manchester.
While energy prices dipped in 2020 due to the pandemic, utility bills steadily rose again in 2021 and are now spiking due primarily to the war in Ukraine. The expectation is that energy prices will continue to rise for the time being, exacerbating the squeeze on homeowners and renters alike. Below are key statistics and information on the current energy environment, as well as tips to estimate utility costs and save money.
A vacant home needs maintenance, protection and comes with inherent risks. Ensuring heating system safety is just one of the concerns.
The skyrocketing price of fuel comes as the United States has shipped more refined products like gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil, abroad to supply European markets following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February, further tightening the market.
Right now, the lowest price for Number 2 heating oil in southern Maine is $5.73 a gallon. The highest price is $6, as low-income and working-class families feel the pinch.
Connecticut homeowners are reeling this spring as oil prices spike at the end of the heating season, tracking rising global demand and markets upended by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Oil would jump $1.50 a gallon in a week when oil dealers previously “wouldn’t see 1.50 in a year,” Childs said. She compared her business with gas stations that also are grappling with rapidly rising prices.

Find a better deal on heating oil or propane from local vendors in 30 seconds or less:


Fuelwonk recommends comparing local vendor propane and heating oil prices before you make the decision to fill up your home tank - use our online comparison tool to find the best offers in your area.