EAST LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A milder and dryer 2020 so far is good news for those who still need to fill up or top off their home heating oil tanks.
Prices are down right now in many parts of the country, including in western Massachusetts.
It used to be that home heating oil prices inched a bit higher the deeper into the winter you went.
However, with winters like the one we're having, we have answers on why now might be the best time to fill those tanks.
"I've been doing this a long time and I had a feeling that after the two previous winters where we had some serious deep freezes, I just felt we were due for what I call a stinker," said Ed Taft with Auth Fuels in East Longmeadow.
A stinker in the home heating oil business means a warmer winter, so said Taft, owner of Auth Fuels in East Longmeadow, which has been in business now for over 85 years.
"It's all weather-driven. Deliveries are steady, but they're not frantic like it can be when it's below zero," Taft added.
Taft told Western Mass News that prices right now are fairly low and, despite the warmer weather, now is a good time to think about how much is in your home heating oil tank.
"They're decent right now, so low prices are good for our customers and helpful for us as well. It makes it a lot easier for people to manage their heating bills when prices are more reasonable," Taft said.
Take a look at the price swings this week alone on mass.gov's weekly fuel survey. It shows a high of $4.61 per gallon to a low of $2.14.
The average of $2.93 is still ten cents less than last year at this time.
The lower, less expensive blue line tracks the current price. The black line is last year's. So far, prices actually peaked this year on January 7 at just over $3.
"The U.S. is producing so much product here now that we're not at the mercy of foreign oil like we used to be. That, in my opinion, has helped keep prices much steadier then they were eight or 10 years ago," Taft said.
Taft said right now, no one should be paying over $3 a gallon.
"If these dealers that are around for two or three or four years and then they're gone, there's a reason why," Taft explained.
Best advice: make sure the company you use has the right credentials.
"We have to jump through so many hoops to do what we do and hire qualified people. It's all closely monitored by state, federal, and local agencies.
For a look at what the average price is of home heating oil on a day-to-day basis, CLICK HERE.