Friday, October 17, 2008

Need for Revised Fuel Price League-Table


Coal Prices
are now the
Big Rip-Off

Back in July I stuck my neck out a bit by suggesting to my readers that they not rush out and buy heating oil at the current greatly inflated prices.

As it so happens, oil which then peaked at $147 a barrel, has subsequently fallen to $70 a barrel today's quoted price, less than half the price of the July peak. Heating oil went to €823 per 1000 litres, today's price listed by Emo Oil for Limerick is €632. That is a massive 23% down from the peak price. No doubt it will go lower again in the short term.

If more people held out against price hikes, the hikes would end sooner. The housing bubble was caused in part by people willing to pay the hugely inflated prices. I bet some of you are now kicking yourselves that you didn't hold out a bit longer on the heating oil and save yourself €200 or more!!

Coal and Other Fuels Piggy-backed on Oil.

Coal, gas, peat and wood fuels all piggybacked up on the price of oil. The oil has since come down substantially but the coal, gas and peat briquettes have all stayed at the higher prices. In fact coal has continued to go up in price. It went up by almost another 6% on the July price. Prior to July last smokeless coal was selling at €400 per tonne or €16 for a 40 Kg bag. The coal importers then opportunistically pumped up the price by a whopping 12.5% - literally overnight purely piggybacking on the price of oil, and more recently by a further 6% hike added insult to injury.

Irish Coal Importers are Price Gougers!

Coal has continued rise in price, it is currently selling at €19 for a 40 kg bag of smokeless coal. That works out at €475 per tonne. The coal merchants are really coining it and I would now categorise them as opportunistic Rip-Off merchants. I would refuse to buy coal at the current price on principle.

Need for a Revised Heating League Table.

All of these price rises seriously affect my league table of fuels. I hasten to add that the table is simply based on the "Raw Kilowatt" energy output of each fuel. It does not take into account the relative efficiency of the boiler etc.

With oil prices now falling rapidly, a condensing oil boiler at 92% efficiency is possibly the best value for money, but don't expect oil to stay low, it is a dwindling resource!

I intend to have a go at a revised Fuel league Table in a few days time.


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