News: Is now the best time to buy home heating oil?

4th April 2015

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Getting the best heating oil price - news from Which?

In the past, heating oil prices kept rising, causing concern for those who are dependent on it, but over the last year, heating oil prices have been falling. In December 2013 the average price per litre for kerosene was 56p - this dropped to 43p in December 2014, according to the Oil Firing Technical Association (Oftec), which offers accreditations to heating oil engineers.

Read on to discover the best time to buy heating oil and what you can do to make sure you get the best price.

Heating oil prices
To give you a rough idea of the current price of heating oil, in early 2015, 'Which?' got a sample of quotes in January from online heating oil companies delivering to a postcode in the north and the south of England. (The Heating Oil Club operates across the majority of the UK including Scotland and Wales.)

On average, they were quoted 39p per litre when ordering 1,000 litres of standard kerosene (the most common type of heating oil in the UK), with standard delivery and a regular tanker. (Bear in mind that prices for kerosene may differ, as will prices for delivery - depending on how far you are from a supplier.) Prices for heating oil, including sudden peaks and troughs, are largely affected by the price of crude oil. This can fluctuate depending on the weather, political unrest and global production. Prices can also be affected by local weather and therefore the demand for heating oil.

But no matter what happens to the price of heating oil, there are still a number of things you can do to keep the costs down.

Buy heating oil ahead of time
Where possible, try to plan and buy ahead to save yourself a premium. The prices quoted to Which? were for standard deliveries, but the speed at which you get your heating oil can change the price. Express or emergency deliveries are often available, but at a premium price, but waiting longer will cost you less. At The Heating Oil Club, we don't charge for express deliveries but do our utmost to ensure fast, efficient and competitively priced deliveries across the UK.

Buy heating oil in spring or summer
Prices for heating oil tend to be lower in the summer, as demand is a lot lower. So buying ahead will save you money. This also means you will avoid potential delivery problems in bad weather.

However, be aware that because of the price drop in 2014, this year may be different and prices may rise again. So it's worth keeping an eye on the market to see what happens - if prices start to rise again, consider buying early if you can.

On average, people buy around two or three times a year - depending on the size of tank and energy usage - and order between 500 and 2,000 litres. No matter when you order, it is important to keep an eye on your oil tank gauge or to regularly dip your tank. Don't let it get too low - less than a quarter full, for example - before you order, especially in winter.

Bulk buy heating oil
The size of your tank will affect how much heating oil you can store and therefore how much you can order in one go. Generally speaking, the more you order, the cheaper it will be. The average size of domestic heating oil tanks ranges between 1,000 and 3,500 litres. If your tank doesn't have a large capacity, by joining The Heating Oil Club - - (for free!) you've already unlocked a really good way to buy cheaper heating oil - as your order will benefit from being part of an established, bulk buying organisation.

So, of all of those jobs that you promised to do over this Easter bank holiday weekend, make sure you check the level of your heating oil tank! We are here to help so if you have a question, please let us know via our web site.

Our thanks go to Which?