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Fuel Oil FAQ's

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Fuel Oil FAQ's

Frequently asked questions about Fuel Oil:


Fuel Oil (also described as "heating oil" or "#2 oil") is a petroleum product used by many Americans to heat their homes. Fuel oil is a refined oil product which is delivered to the Northeast by tanker or barge, stored at terminals in major seaports, delivered by tractor-trailer to North Conway where we store it, and then delivered to homes and businesses from delivery trucks to customer-owned tanks.


1. Who Uses Fuel Oil?

8 million of America's 101 million homes use fuel oil for heating and heating hot water. In New Hampshire more than 59% of all homes use fuel oil as a heat source.


2. Where Does Fuel Oil Come From?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, crude oil comes from domestic sources (60%) and imports from foreign countries (40%) with Canada making up the largest part of the foreign importers. Refineries then produce fuel oil as part of the "distillate fuel oil" product family, which includes heating oil, diesel fuel, kerosene, and jet fuel. These products are shipped throughout the United States by pipelines, barges, rail cars and tanker trucks to central storage terminals. Retailers, such as White Mountain Oil & Propane, then pick up the product and deliver it to local homes and businesses.


3. How Is Fuel Oil Priced?

Generally, fuel oil is priced by the retailer based on the cost of the product at the terminal, plus transportation, plus the cost of operations, at a cents-per-gallon margin. Mark-up on fuel oils is not done on a percentage margin.


4. What Is Kerosene?

Kerosene, or "K-1" in the Northeast, is simply a further refined blend of fuel oil. Any oil burning system can use kerosene but certain equipment (i.e. Monitor heaters) cannot use fuel oil and must burn only kerosene.


5. How do you know when to come fill my fuel tank again?

In most instances, we use the Degree Day method. A Degree Day is an average temperature difference subtracted from 65 degrees. It can be calculated for any period such as a day, hour, or minute. Then we make an assumption of how many degree days your specific house would need to remain in its current state (how warm you keep it on average) and over the course of deliveries, the number gets refined. If situations change, such as you put on an addition, install a gas clothes dryer, have additional people move into your home, or add insulation to your home, then the degree days can change. It is important to let us know of changes to your living situation that could impact your fuel consumption.

In other words, it’s a method of measuring consumption over time, like “miles per gallon” in your vehicle. Our system learns how many “gallons per degrees of temperature” your home or business is expected to use. As it gets colder, it prompts us to come more often.


6. What is the 'Compliance Charge' on my bill?

The Compliance Charge is based on the extra costs we now incur to operate our delivery trucks in the "post 9-11 world", where federal, state and local governments mandate a number of new reporting requirements including, but not limited to: hazardous materials, homeland security, emergency preparedness, workplace safety, cylinder re-qualification, and environmental compliances. We took these total costs of unproductive driver and employee labor to do this increased reporting and divided it by the number of deliveries a year, giving us a $10.83 figure that is charged per delivery and enables us to recoup some of the costs of compliance. For more information, see this brochure.