Like the price of petrol or diesel for your car, the price of heating oil is hugely influenced by the global price of crude oil and will change over time. Recent years has seen a big fall in the price of heating oil as the crude oil price collapsed.
In December 2013 the average price for heating oil was 56 pence per litre. In April 2016 the average price was 28 pence per litre!
Getting the best price for heating oil
There are a number of things you can do to ensure you get the best price for your heating oil:-
1. Shop around for your heating oil
As with petrol, where prices can vary quite a lot between retailers, so can the price of heating oil. There are several nationwide heating oil price comparison sites and heating oil brokers that you can use. The brokers will have a network of suppliers and they will search to get you the best price in your area. Below are some links to a few sites: -
However it is also well worth looking locally to get a supplier, you could get a very competitive price plus you have the added benefit of building a relationship with the supplier. For instance some local suppliers offer credit terms to loyal customers, with up to 30 days to pay. Imagine filling your car with petrol and paying 30 days later!
To find a local supplier you can use the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) Directory. Its member companies work to a code of conduct. Of course you can also use Yellow Pages, Yell or Google Maps to find local heating oil suppliers. If you are new to an area ask around to see which heating suppliers people use.
2. Buy your heating oil in bulk
Generally speaking the more heating oil you buy the cheaper the price. The smallest quantity is usually 500 litres.
3. Club together to buy heating oil
If you have neighbours that use heating oil then it might be possible to bulk order together and get the benefit of a cheaper price. This doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement, you can just ask about when you are ordering to see if anyone else needs heating oil. Most suppliers will be happy to bill people individually.
4. Don’t leave it until the last minute!
It is tempting to let your oil supply drop low before ordering, so you can buy a bigger volume and get a cheaper price. However be careful not to leave to too late, as most suppliers charge a premium for quick deliveries.
Linked to this it is best to buy oil before the cold weather comes, prices can rise in winter when demand is high. So filling up in summer, even if you are not using much oil, can mean you get a better price. However your ability to time your purchases of heating oil will depend on the size of your tank and the rate at which you use the oil.