CROTON FALLS, N.Y. – Even as The Old Farmers Almanac predicts a colder winter for the East Coast and after the price of crude oil increased, consumers in Northern Westchester County may be paying a little less this year to heat their homes.
The average price for home heating oil in the North Salem/Somers area is now $3.75 per gallon, said Bob Daros, co-owner of Heritage Fuel & Heritage Propane in Croton Falls. But last year, it was about $4 a gallon.
“Thirty or 40 years ago, oil depended on supply and demand, but now it has a lot to do with politics and foreign affairs. The weather doesn’t influence the price as much as uncertainty in the OPEC-producing countries,” he said.
“Around here, it’s hard to say how much fuel the average house will use because there’s such a variety of houses. Our North Salem customers range from 500 square feet at Peach Lake to 15,000 square feet on Keeler Lane. The range is also wide in Somers,” said Daros.
“Most houses will use between 1,200 and 1,400 gallons of fuel oil in a normal winter.”
Heating with natural gas is usually cheaper, but it is not available in this area. However, Daros has high hopes for propane as an all-purpose fuel. “Traditionally, it was used for clothes dryers and cooking, but the technology has changed,” he said. “Its uses are a lot broader.
“Propane can do everything. My entire home runs on propane – heat, hot water, cooking, the dryer, the generator, the pool heater and the space heater, and it’s very efficient. It’s the upcoming fuel.”
Why don’t more people use it? “Most people already have oil tanks, so they don’t want to make a switch. But if you’re on the crossroads of a large renovation, or you have a buried oil tank to replace, you should definitely consider propane.”