The oil delivery truck stopped at Thomas Brearley's father-in-laws' house in Providence Tuesday- each gallon pumped in making him more anxious. The price of home heating oil will be a big burden on his wife's dad, who at 91-years-old lives on a fixed income.
"It's on his mind. All the time. Especially in the winter
months," said Brearley.
This winter there is good reason to be concerned. Oil prices are on the rise. The average cost in Rhode Island is $4.08 a gallon. That ties the state's record high price set nearly a year ago. Nationally it's a little bit higher at $4.17.
"He's concerned 'I've got to keep the heat down to save
money' but that's not the solution. He likes it warm. We don't want him to get
sick," said Brearley.
Carmine DiSanto of Henry's Oil in Providence says prices tend to spike during cold snaps based on supply and demand. There are things homeowners can do to maximize efficiency starting with the temperature.
"People like to go 65. 68 would be good. I wouldn't go up and
down. I would just leave it at one set temperature setting but I wouldn't go
too low when it's extremely cold because you do wind up sometimes freezing
pipes," said DiSanto.
Locking in a price with your oil company can be a gamble because market prices can change suddenly and you may lose out. DiSanto says the best thing to do in tough times is to shop around.
There are other ways of heating a home including wood stoves and propane. The national average is $4.20 a gallon.