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Should you buy heating oil now?

Heating oil prices fall by 23% in a year


Heating oil prices are at a four year low

The price of heating oil was at a four-year low in December, with a 23% fall in price between December 2013 and 2014. But it has started to rise again.

Dropping from an average of 56p per litre in December 2013 to 43p in December 2014, heating oil was at its cheapest in four years. (These figures from Fuel Oil News are based on ordering 1,000 litres of kerosene heating oil, the most common type used in the UK.) 

However, heating oil prices have started to rise a little again, although they are still lower than in previous years. 

Find out more about the different types of heating oil, how to maintain heating oil tanks and ways to save money on heating oil, by visiting our expert guide to heating oil. 

Heating oil prices

Heating oil prices can fluctuate and vary greatly, depending on a number of factors. This can include the time of year, the weather, your location and the price of crude oil – the latter was a large contributing factor to the drop in the price of heating oil.

We spoke to the industry body that offers accreditation to heating oil engineers, the Oil Firing Technical Association (Oftec), about the decline. It suspects that prices will remain low, at least until March. 

We normally recommend that you buy heating oil in summer, when there is less demand so prices are lower. But with the current price of heating oil being so low, it’s worth looking at prices now, ideally comparing them to what you have paid in summer, if possible.  

It’s best to get a number of quotes in your area, and see if you can join an oil buying club as bulk buying can save you even more. Find out more about how to get the cheapest price for heating oil.

Oil boilers

Since 1 April 2007, oil-fired boilers must have a Sedbuck efficiency rating of 86% or more (Sedbuck is a measure used to estimate how efficient a boiler is). Typically, new condensing oil-fired boilers are 92% to 93% efficient, compared with 85% for a new non-condensing boiler and older systems. 

The more efficient your boiler is, the less fuel you’ll use and the more money you will save. We’ve got data on boiler efficiency in our oil boiler reviews, plus we rate oil boiler brands for reliability, as well as giving them a customer score based on how satisfied Which? members were with their boiler and whether they would recommend it to a friend. 

If you’re thinking of updating your oil boiler, make sure you buy the best for your home – click to see our oil boiler reviews

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