Recently, you might have seen this article about rising oil prices from the Associated Press. This article really isn’t reliable. It is based off of the US Energy Information Agency’s Annual Energy Outlook. This was published in early July and hasn’t taken into account the enormous changes that have occurred since then. It should be colder this year than last year was, but the cost of heating fuel depends on much more than that.
OPEC might cap oil production (as they say they will at their meeting in Vienna in November) as a means to bolster oil prices. Even if they do cap the production, Iran will not be included in the reduced production stipulation as they were just given the opportunity to receive oil extraction and refining equipment from western companies, as well as the right to sell to Western nations for the first time in over five years. This will likely reduce the prices of crude barrels more and lead to downward oil prices this winter. Other OPEC nations facing different situations, i.e. Libya and Nigeria, are increasing production to help pay for the consequences of their national turmoil. Iran, Nigeria, and Libya will all be helping to provide a cushion to the world’s fuel supply (which already has a sizeable reserve in place as it is). United Press International published an article that has a financially sound account of the situation unfolding here.
Building more of these (left) to help refine and store heating fuel isn’t as desirable as seeing trees and plants flourish.
The reality is, the oil market is volatile and it’s pricing is partially based off of international diplomacy or lack thereof. Right now, the world (and especially the majority of OPEC nations) are unpredictable and so are fuel prices here at home. If the Colonial Pipeline is ever returned to being fully operational, that could cause the fuel prices in the United States to drop again to as the cost for supplying distant terminals will become less expensive. Though the state of the pipeline is still too questionable to see if it will cause any changes in this year’s fuel prices.
If you don’t want to have to read world news articles before you touch your thermostat or place a call to refill your oil tank before the prices rise again, there is another way. There is a standard heating source that doesn’t have the price volatility that the oil markets do. THAT RELIABLE HEATING SOURCE IS FIREWOOD.
Sure, the prices of firewood fluctuate a little from year to year. This year looks like it will be a little bit cheaper (we reduced our seasoned cord price to $320 recently). The fluctuations are based off of supply availability, weather, and how much work the customer wants to put in to get cheaper, less seasoned wood earlier in the year to let it season before burning it.
This time of year, there is little heat and sunlight left to dry split firewood in your yard. Now is the time to buy semi-seasoned or seasoned wood to ensure that when the time arrives and your shivering in your house, the firewood will light up and burn efficiently. If you buy grapple loads to cut and split yourself or if you buy green wood, it should only be for next year’s supply. That way it will have time to dry out and get ready for burning.
Of course, there is another reason to choose firewood over heating fuels from foreign sources other than avoiding tidal oil prices. Firewood comes from the same place that you do. We get ours from locations in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. You can see it grow around you, see it get harvested, handled, split, stacked and burned. You feel like you are participating with nature and using it to provide a necessity for your wellbeing, as people have been doing for 300,000 years.
Burning firewood is one of our ancestral activities and a necessity for survival. If you feel like you’ve lost touch with nature because you live in a city, you might get the feeling of accomplishment, an understanding of where your fuel comes from, and how you can use a renewable natural resource in a “hands-on” way.
You can’t get that feeling when you heat your home with oil or natural gas. You have a delivery man fill up a tank and leave. If your pilot light is going, then the accomplishment necessary to heat your home comes when you turn the thermostat up. This process isn’t satisfying and if the system ever fails or your oil tank springs a leak, it will be far worse than if your firewood stacks tip over.
Learn how to use the resources provided by your natural surroundings (or those outside the city that you live in). By doing so, you will be slowing the flooding of the oil market by not supplying the demand necessary to cause a price elevation to suit the economies of other nations. Work with your hands and supply yourself with heat.
You’ll warm up even before lighting a fire after you split a couple of pieces and start stacking them.