Home heating oil has tended to be disastrously expensive in the past. Clark recalls being a freshman at American University in Washington, D.C. during the 1973 oil embargo. At that time, the school got its heat on campus from an oil-fed boiler. Oil was in such short supply (and so expensive) that students were sent home during Christmas break and told they would receive a letter telling them when to come back to school. They wound up starting their spring semester many weeks late to avoid peak cold season.
This year, however, we are awash in oil. Our inventory is at the highest level it's been since 1983. The price is down as a result, despite fears about the devaluation of the dollar. So the cost of home heating oil should remain favorable throughout the winter.
Meanwhile, 57 percent of people use natural gas to heat their homes. Thankfully, the price of natural gas is way down too. Natural gas tends to be very volatile in price. If you go back to the fall of 2005, natural gas was almost four times the price it is now. But the good news is that prices should also be favorable throughout the winter.
Finally, gas prices at the pump look like they're headed down again. The trend looking out seems favorable for what we pay for gasoline. Clark isn't seeing a collapse in price, but he believes the cost is headed down by several cents per gallon (and maybe as much as a dime) over the next several weeks. We'll see if he's right on that.