Heating oil prices: why pay more?

If you’re one of the 1.5 million households in the UK that relies on oil or LPG to heat your home(1), you’ll know it’s a real headache to arrange deliveries. There's the constant worry of running out and a challenge to find the lowest heating oil prices.

 

 

How high are heating oil prices?

The price you pay for heating oil reflects the wholesale cost – and this can change significantly over time(2). Over the last decade, the average consumer price for heating oil in the UK has ranged from a peak of 68.8p per litre (February 2013), to a low of 28.6p (February 2016)(3). While at the start of 2020, heating oil cost 54.8p per litre, but had dropped to below 30p in May.

According to Energy Saving Trust figures(4) for the year to April 2020, heating oil averaged 4.8p per kWh. While gas cost 4.2p and LPG cost 7.2p. By contrast, standard-rate electricity cost 16.4p per kWh, while off-peak electricity averaged 9.8p.

Heating oil prices are a little higher than mains gas – but it’s important to consider the environmental impact, too. Oil is a fossil fuel and one of the worst polluting energy sources.

The Energy Saving Trust calculates that one kilowatt-hour of energy from gas results in 208g of carbon dioxide (CO2) being released. For LPG this is 241g, and for heating oil it rises to 298g – that’s 43% more than gas!

domestic heating oil storage tank in a garden

How can I pay less for heating oil? Use less!

While you can save money by shopping around for heating oil, the biggest savings come from using less of it! And that doesn’t necessarily mean cutting back on your use – but finding alternative ways to warm your home, generate hot water and power your cooking.

Many of these alternatives are also better for the environment too. For example, solar hot water heating can reduce how much heating oil you need to heat your home’s water(5). While solar panels may allow you to do more cooking with electricity, rather than heating oil.

But given heating’s one of the biggest energy demands in the home – and generates the most CO2 emissions(6) – this is where you should look to make the biggest changes.

Simple steps include home efficiency measures – like wall or loft insulation and draught-proofing. But if you want to go one step further, consider turning your existing boiler into a hybrid heating system or become a Net Zero Hero and get rid of your fossil fuel altogether with a full electric heating system.

hybrid air source heat pump installed at a house next to an exterior wall

Upgrade your heating system

Air source heat pumps (ASHP) work much like a fridge in reverse: they use a compressor to move heat from the outside to the inside of a home. And because heat is being moved – rather than generated – they’re more efficient(7) than even the best oil or gas-burning heating systems.

In some highly efficient homes, an ASHP can meet all your hot water and heating needs. Our experts will advise you on which system is best for your home whether thats an environment friendly low-temperature system, a high temperature or even a hybrid system that works with your existing boiler.

And that means fewer headaches organising regular deliveries of oil, no more fear of running out and a more consistently warm home.

Upgrade your heating system

country house with hybrid air source heat pump

Why switch to a heat pump heating system?

It’s not just the cost of heating oil that you can save on with a heat pump system system; they can reduce your overall energy bills. Here’s how…

You’ll spend more on electricity (because it’s now heating your home too) – and standard rate electricity is about three and a half times more expensive than heating oil(8). But heat pumps can be three or four times more efficient than even the newest oil or gas boilers(9).

This means that a well-designed ASHP system can still cost less to run. They are designed to run at a constant ambient temperature throughout the day.  Quite the opposite of a boiler which you switch on to boost the heating and then turn off again, heat pumps are most efficient at low temperatures for longer periods of time, so your home feels cosy throughout the day.  No more cold mornings or walking into a cold home after a day out.  

ASHP systems also qualify for payments under the Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI). So you’ll receive payments over seven years from the government for updating your system.

Then there are the benefits of switching to a heat pump heating system for the environment. There's no escaping the fact that oil's a dirty fossil fuel, which is contributing to climate change. Whereas the heat you get from your ASHP can be emissions-free if you take out a renewable electricity tariff.

Plus: buying less heating oil means you don't have to shop around regularly to find the right prices. It takes the stress out of constantly organising oil deliveries. And means fewer tankers travelling down your local roads.

Using less oil may also mean you don’t need to store as much, you could even get rid of that great big tank. So you’ll be less at risk of damage from any leak – or losses should you fall victim to thieves. So why not find out if you can upgrade your heating to a low-carbon heat pump system?

Upgrade to a heat pump

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