With heating oil set to hit around $2/gallon, and in my belief, not ever
coming down from there but only going up, it has me thinking about
alternative options for heat or saving on heating costs in general... in the
face of what I believe is going to be a long-term trend towards increasing
costs for oil-based energy.
So at 75% efficiency, I think I must be getting about 50K BTU per dollar
with my current oil-fired boiler. Some quick math tells me that electricity
at 0.12 kwh will give me about 28K BTU per dollar at 100% efficiency. I
seem to recall that LP gas is generally higher than oil, even at the higher
efficiency of state of the art gas furances, and nat gas is not available
(yet) in my neighborhood. So it seems that oil is still cheaper for now....
Does anyone have any thoughts / insight to:
- will LP gas prices fluctuate proportionately the same as #2 oil prices,
relative to the price of crude? Seems they should, so there would never be
a case to go with LP gas in the interest of saving energy costs.
- how would electricity prices fluctuate relative to the price of oil?
Seems that the correlation would be regional, depending upon the local
availability of nuclear or hydro power, plus the impact of the regulatory
environment. I would guess that for the vast majority of the country, a
long-term ramp-up of oil prices will never make electricity more competitive
because so much of our electric source is oil-based.
- what about nat gas prices? My guess is that nat gas prices would rise in
the face of increasing oil prices, as energy sources are switched over, but
more slowly. In the face of rising oil prices, I would expect a strong
incentive and lobby to see nat gas service run out to my neighborhood.
- are there any sources on the internet where I could easily evaluate solar?
I'm most interested in -- if I put a reasonable set of collectors on my
roof, given my current configuration of roof orientation, location, etc.,
how much energy could I expect to capture?
Thoughts and opinions from the more informed welcome :)