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Pandemic sparks huge surge in home heating oil sales as prices plummet to a 20-year low



Stock image (Yui Mok/PA)

Stock image (Yui Mok/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Stock image (Yui Mok/PA)

The collapse in global oil prices combined with families being stuck at home because of Covid-19 restrictions has sparked an unprecedented surge in home heating oil sales.

Irish oil suppliers said deliveries had increased in some areas by almost 400pc compared to April last year.

The sales surge came as kerosene - Ireland's most common home heating oil product - yesterday plunged to just 37c per litre with some suppliers.

That represents a drop of almost 25c on the price just seven weeks ago. It is almost 40pc down on the price available last November.

It also represents a 60pc decline in the price of home heating oil compared to the peaks experienced in February 2013, when it reached 91.5c per litre.

Suppliers confirmed home heating oil is now at its lowest level for 20 years.

For house-bound families it represents a welcome piece of good news - with an average oil tank fill now costing around €500 compared to almost €1,000 seven years ago.

Major suppliers including Campus, Top, Amber, TexOil, Shreelawn, Dublin, Corrib, Emo and Jones have witnessed a surge in orders because prices have dropped to reflect the decline in global oil prices.

Families are suddenly spending far more time at home because of the pandemic and children are exerting greater demands on heating system operations.

Some householders are also using the price drop to order home heating supplies early for next winter.

"We have been flat out with deliveries over the past fortnight," one delivery driver said. "Everyone seems to be at home and families are using more heating because of the schools being off. Sales would have been even higher if the weather was worse.

"A lot of people have ordered because they heard about prices falling."

On filling station forecourts, petrol and diesel prices are now at their lowest level since 2000.

However, forecourt sales have slumped given the travel bans linked to the Covid-19 pandemic with only essential workers permitted long-distance travel.

This week, Brent crude oil futures plunged by 25pc to the lowest level for 20 years.

US oil prices have dropped to minus-$40 a barrel amid fears of a historic oversupply due to global fuel demand being wiped out.

Traders said the slide in US prices signal that oversupply and lower prices may last throughout the summer.

Irish Independent