Thursday’s Tips…

Posted: 17/07/2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,
One of the aggravating things about today’s high energy prices is to fill up your tank for sixty plus dollars, drive of down the road, and see a station that has the same fuel for a nickel a gallon cheaper.
We can avoid that by shopping around for prices, especially if you have online access, which I know you do, because you’re reading this. There are several sources available to do that, all at no cost to you. For gasoline, one of the best sources is “Gas Buddy” which you can navigate to by clicking on the graphic to you left. And no, I do not make any money if you use the site. I do however save money, which is why I share the site with you.
But you can enter your zip code, click search now and a list of filling stations in your zip code will come up with station prices locations and other info. For instance, in my zip code today, nine stations were listed with prices ranging from $4.05 to $4.12 per gallon were displayed. The most expensive price was for the station nearest to where I live, but to save seven cents a gallon, I could drive across town, which is worthwhile since it really isn’t out of the way when you consider the savings. Enter your zip code and check it out, it works all over the country.
Heating oil can be shopped for in a similar manner here in Maine as well. One site that caught my eye was Maine Oil.com. On that site you simply select your fuel type, and then select a regional area for delivery to. Today in the Greater Portland area, 22 sites were listed, and cash prices ranged from $4.299 to $4.799 per gallon if paid by cash. That’s quite a price range, and it makes me wonder how long it will be before the regulators in Augusta get into the fray with pricing controls over the vast difference in price for the same geographical areas.
I sent an email to the company to find out more about them, but they declined to respond, so as far as reliability goes, I’m not on board 100%. Bear in mind that these dealers have to pay to be listed, and some dealers in an area may not wish to pay for the service. That said, before the season gets into full swing, it would be prudent to buy some newspapers and make sure you have a list of all the dealers in your area. Shop around and compare prices before you buy.
One type of heating oil program that seems to be catching on is a capped budget type of plan where you agree to a maximum price per gallon that you will pay, but if the price goes below that price, your price lowers as well. Sounds like a good plan, but I’d check out all of the particulars of the contract before signing.
Natural gas isn’t a fuel you can shop around for, but propane is. I haven’t found a site yet where you can compare bottled gas prices though. Firewood is once again coming into its own, and the price is starting to rise, some areas drastically so, so it’s best to hunt around for phone numbers and do some leg work. Make sure you compare apples to apples when buying firewood. Not all cordwood is the same.
Wood pellets are also a shopable product, but there are a lot of hidden fees and charges if you go beyond a local dealer. One of the sites I went to had a pretty reasonable price per ton, at forty dollars cheaper per ton than locally, but if I wanted it delivered, the charges would have put the per ton price at thirty dollars per ton higher. And they had an eight ton minimum load for delivery to this area.
No matter your choice of fuel for this coming winter, it pays to be a knowledgeable consumer. Shop around and get prices. And to get the best prices, know the product at least as well as, if not better than the retailer.
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