Northeast Heating Oil Supply, Demand, and Factors Affecting Its Use [April 28, 2014]   [open pdf - 565KB]

"The United States' exports and imports of refined petroleum products include distillate fuel oil-- the general category for heating oil. In 2013, distillate fuel oil imports exceeded 56.4 million barrels, up from the previous year's 46.2 million barrels. However, distillate fuel imports have been declining. Overall, some 6.9 million households rely on heating oil nationally. The number of overall household users, however, has declined from 8.7 million in 2006-2007, and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects a 3% decline for 2013-2014. By and large, the greatest demand for home heating oil is in the Northeast United States, where some 5.5 million households relied on it for primary space heating during the winter of 2012-2013, consuming 645.5 gallons per household on average (compared to 766.4 gallons by Midwest households). […] A number of factors may contribute to the nation's declining demand for heating oil. The most significant factor may be that the increasing price of heating oil has discouraged use. Heating oil prices continue to remain high, as do other petroleum products and crude oil. These factors raise several questions: what factors have contributed to the decline of heating oil consumption; does the Northeast still depend on heating oil to the extent it did over a decade ago; and should Congress continue to monitor the Northeast heating oil supply?"

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43511
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