It is estimated by the EIA that over 8.1 million people in the United States use oil to heat their homes during the winter months. Oil is the most popular heating choice for people in the Northeast. Heating oil is produced from the same sources as gasoline as part of distillate fuel oil, and the production of heating oil is directly related to the demand for gasoline.
The three main types of oil used to heat homes include: kerosene, propane and crude oil. Propane is a mixture of natural gas and crude oil. The mixture is used to reduce pollution. Kerosene is derived directly from petroleum or shale oil and has a strong odor. Other forms of heating oil are also derived from petroleum and are designed to provide a cost-efficient form of fuel for oil heaters.
The cost of heating oil varies on several different factors. The area in which you live can dictate oil prices based on regional demand. The current cost of crude oil and gasoline prices can also have an effect. Heating oil is often manufactured after all necessary gasoline has been created, which means that during times of high gasoline demands heating oil can be more expensive. On average, heating oil costs around $2.50 per gallon.
There are many things to consider before installing a heating oil system. Although it may seem like a good idea to use a self-sustained system that does not rely on the city or electricity, there are drawbacks as well to this type of system. As fossil fuels continue to become scarcer, the price of heating oil will continue to rise. Much of the heating oil used in the United States comes from Canada and Venezuela. If these sources are ever cut off then heating oil prices will skyrocket.
There are a few additional uses for heating oil other than basic home heating. Kerosene is often used as a fuel for camping lamps and other oil-based lights. It has also been used in cooking and can even be turned into a form of alcohol. Propane is often used to fuel stoves, cook food and even as a fuel for water heaters. Propane is often a popular choice for these tasks because it burns cleanly with little to no scent.