Bumper year for oil as boiler sales rise and prices fall

Jeremy Hawksley, director general, OFTEC
With oil boiler sales reaching a five year high and oil prices dropping to a six year low, 2015 is proving a winning year for the oil heating industry and consumers alike.

Purchases of new, high efficiency oil condensing boilers are at their highest level since 2010, with sales from January to October this year up 9% on the same period in 2014. Demand for boilers has been particularly strong over the summer months, suggesting that recent uncertainty over renewable heating subsidies following government policy changes, may have also influenced consumer thinking.

The continued fall in oil prices has also undoubtedly played a key part in purchase decisions. The average selling price of kerosene in England and Wales fell to around 35ppl in September – the lowest point since autumn 2009 and almost 50% cheaper than when prices peaked in spring 2013.

OFTEC director general Jeremy Hawksley, commented: “The growth in oil boiler sales is clearly excellent news for manufacturers and heating installers, with three strong quarters of results. This is backed up by positive feedback from our OFTEC technicians, suggesting there is plenty of work around.

“Low prices are making an enormous difference to oil-using households, with many saving hundreds of pounds on their fuel bills. Oil is now by far the cheapest major heating fuel with typical annual costs currently around £793 pa – that’s 48.7% cheaper than LPG, 50% less expensive than electric storage heaters and 24% cheaper than mains gas.”

Encouragingly, oil heating users have benefitted directly from the fall in crude oil prices because, unlike other fuels, the price drop has been passed straight on to consumers.

Jeremy Hawksley added: “The fact that consumers are benefitting directly from the dramatic drop in prices makes oil heating even more attractive for both existing and new users. Predicting future kerosene prices is always difficult, but with world demand for crude oil remaining low and continued oversupply, it’s likely that prices will remain low for some time to come. So far 2015 is certainly proving to be an outstanding year for oil heating users and manufacturers and technicians working in the industry.”