How can you become heating oil price savvy?

A few pointers for cost-effective heating oil

Just as fluctuating fuel prices affect the amount you pay to fill up your car, they also impact the amount you spend on heating oil. When you consider that home heating oil tanks in the UK hold between 1,000 litres and 1,500 litres on average, a few extra pence per litre can really make a difference to your fuel bill.

We know that getting a good deal is important to home heating oil users. But when you’re new to oil, it can be tricky to know what is considered expensive and what is considered a reasonable price to pay. Here is a rundown of oil prices to help you manage your orders cost-effectively.

How much should you spend on heating oil?

Everything from political dynamics, global crises and the weather all impact fuel prices. Even the location of your home will affect your bill. Our blog on the reasons why fuel prices change is a good place to learn more about these factors.

Heating oil prices usually climb steadily over a year with a few peaks and troughs along the way. In 2016, the average UK home spent £355 for 1,000 litres of oil, and in 2017, this price rose to £434. Prices increased again in 2018 to an average of £538 per year. But in 2020, the average annual price plummeted to £379 per 1,000 litres – their lowest level in four years – mainly because the global pandemic cut the demand for oil.

When it comes to heating oil prices, major slumps are usually short lived, so it’s important to make the most of them. Here are a few tips to help you ride out the highs and lows of heating oil price fluctuations.

Keep an eye on fuel prices

Although average annual prices seem to increase (albeit with some surprises), they can really change throughout the year. Usually, prices are higher in winter and lower in summer because of demand, but this isn’t always the case. By regularly keeping an eye on fuel prices, you can more accurately determine when the price is low.

There are a couple of ways to do this. You could get regular instant quotes on our website to see the price in your local area. You might also find it useful – or, at the very least, interesting – to stay up to date with the news to identify broader geopolitical trends that affect fuel prices. The Financial Times, for example, regularly has articles on factors affecting the cost of oil.

Bulk buy when prices are low

When you notice a dip in prices, that’s the time to bulk buy. The price per litre may also be lower when you place a large order. You can fill up your tank to 80% to 90% capacity (more than this could put your tank at risk of a spillage), and it’s worth maximising this volume when the prices are low.

On the flipside, if prices are high and you need more oil, it might work out to be more cost-effective in the long run to place a minimum order, in the hope that prices will drop in time for your next top up.

Keep checking your fuel gauge

If you run out of oil, an emergency top up can be more expensive than usual, especially if the prices are high – in winter, for example. By topping up before your tank is nearly empty, you can time your top up for when prices are lower to avoid fast delivery charges for emergency fuel.

Choose your supplier carefully

Many suppliers work with third parties, so they add on charges such as delivery fees, bad-weather premiums, out-of-hours fees and other surcharges. Be aware of these, as they can really add up. At Direct Oil, we’ve cut the middlemen to keep things simple. The price quoted is the price you pay, so you won’t get caught out.

To get an idea of heating oil prices in your area right now, get an instant quote online today.

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