SALEM - December's winter chill was greeted with lower home heating oil prices. A statewide heating oil price survey completed Dec. 15 for the Oregon Department of Energy reported average 200-gallon home heating oil prices of $1.97 a gallon statewide and $1.82 a gallon in the Portland metropolitan area.

The statewide price is 22.4 percent less than the $2.54 price reported in November 2008 and 35.6 percent less than the $3.06 reported in December 2007. The Portland metropolitan area price is 23.5 percent less than the $2.38 reported in November 2008 and 39.1 percent less than the $2.99 a gallon reported in December 2007.

The 200-gallon cash price reported for 20 percent biodiesel (B20) heating oil blends averaged $2.20 statewide in December. This price averaged $0.27 more a gallon statewide than the 200-gallon cash price reported for heating oil by the same heating oil dealers.

Oregonians can reduce their home heating costs by making their homes more energy efficient. Oregonians who heat primarily with oil, propane, kerosene or wood may receive rebates of up to $500 for energy efficiency improvements through the State Home Oil Weatherization (SHOW) Program.

Oregonians who heat with oil, propane, kerosene, or wood can call the SHOW Program at 1-800-452-8660 or check www.oregon.gov/energy for a simple energy audit checklist to learn what they can do to use less energy. Information about financial incentives for energy efficiency investments is also available.

Low-income Oregonians who need help can learn more about assistance available in their communities at www.warmoregon.org or by calling their local social service or community action program.

Oil heat customers might also ask their heating oil dealers about equal pay programs or senior discounts if they are interested in those opportunities.

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