Thursday, May 29, 2008

Charting rising fuel prices in Canada and how it's hitting home

National Resources Canada has been charting the increasing cost of gas, diesel, propane and furnace oil across Canada. I checked out some averages for my province and got a bad case of the shakes. It seems that for all the rolling around on my bike I do, that I'm still in for a possible short-term wallop soon, thanks to the current situation with oil.

In June of last year, furnace oil was around $0.90 per litre. By January, it was hovering at around $0.97. That meant, in January, that a half tank of oil (which lasts me roughly a little less than two months in the dead of winter with the thermostat between 10 and 12 C / 50-53.6 F) cost around $485 or so, with taxes. Right now, furnace oil is selling at around $1.33 per litre -- a 28% increase. So, if last winter it cost roughly $970 to heat my apartment (not factoring in the bit of oil left over from the previous year or the increase in my electricity bill from using a space heater when company was over or on colder nights), that means that a repeat of the same weather, a similar thermostat setting, etc. this year would cost around $1242 at today's prices, give or take a handful of bucks. And the price of furnace oil is still spiking. It's gone up 7% just in the past month.

I'd hoped to hang on to my apartment until late fall to be able to squeeze whatever I can out of my garden, but it's starting to look a little dire. If it's going up an average of 7% a month, that means a half tank of oil will cost double what it did in January by this October. Looks like it's time to start looking for new digs. I had a feeling last winter that this was coming, but hadn't realized that the increase in cost would be so drastic so quickly.


J said...

That's a massive increase! And it's really quite scary too, now that things are really starting to hit home.

I feel you as well, though I don't know if Missouri gets as cold in the winter as your province of Canada. We have natural gas heat and a very inefficient apartment and we try to use it as minimally as possible. We have taken to using a space heater to 'lightly' heat the room we are in and closing off the rest of the rooms. It seems to work pretty well, but our bills were still quite high. I do have to admit though, we don't keep it as cool as you do, we could definitely stand to keep it a bit cooler to save some energy.

You are right though, it might be best to find a place that is more efficient or the climate doesn't require too much in the way of heating.

I also wanted to thank you - you've inspired me to FINALLY write a piece about peak oil for my blog. I have been fascinated with the topic for a few years, but never really felt I had much to offer on the topic. But having the blog is, in a way, like having a 'soap box' to get up and say your piece, so I am going to do that.

M said...

I haven't really kept track of price increases at the pumps, so this caught me a little by surprise. I knew that things were getting more expensive, but seeing it in concrete terms and how it will apply to me directly within less than a year -- wow! It's going to be a really hard winter for a lot of North Americans.

I think you're somewhere around hardiness zone 6b? I'm in 4b. Basically, that would mean that the coldest it gets where you are in Missouri is around 0 to -5 F. Here, it goes as low as -20 to -25 F. Brrr!

Thanks for the kind comments. I don't know that I have that much to offer about peak oil, myself, though. I'm still learning. I'm glad to share what I find and am always eager to learn from others, so I really look forward to reading your piece!