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Heating Oil – Why saving 1p per litre isn’t necessarily the best deal

When weighing up the best supplier for your heating oil, the first consideration is often price.

When calling around you get quoted the cost per litre, and the saving of a penny per litre often leaves you feeling like you have ‘won’ the perfect deal. After-all, it’s just fuel to heat your home – not exactly a glamorous handbag or a meal out for two! 

In this article we’re going to explore how much you actually save on your fuel when it’s pennies of difference and why you might not be better off going for the lower price.

Heating Oil – What drives fuel price up or down 

When phoning around a number of heating oil distributors in your local area prices should roughly be around the same price point. The biggest impact on heating oil price is actually determined by OPEC, a consortium of 14 countries who control 40% of the world’s crude oil. Crude oil is a commodity therefore when the supply of crude oil goes down the price goes up and vice versa.

Related content: How much does heating oil cost in Scotland 

Related content: What a drop in Crude Oil means for the UK’s heating oil prices 

Heating Oil – How much does 1p per litre actually save you on your bill? 

Everyone likes to save money, who doesn’t?!  I’d suggest even more so when it’s on boring utilities!! The less you spend there the more you can spend on life’s luxuries – right?! 

However, before you jump ship from one supplier to the next – do you know how much you are actually saving?!


500 litres1000 litres1500 litres 
0.1p per litre 50p £1.00£2.00
0.5p per litre£2.50 £5.00£10.00
1p per litre £5.00£10.00£20.00
5p per litre £25.00£50.00£100.00

Table: Price savings per litre 

While you might start to question swapping suppliers at the bottom of the table, you’ll see some price differences, once scaled up to the size of your typical order, are actually pretty negligible. As you may see in the next section they may actually cause you more issues than it’s worth! 

6 Reasons why you might not want to go with the cheapest heating oil price

#1 – Smooth Delivery Service

carnegie oils tanker making rural delivery

Often more than not, heating oil deliveries are made to rural locations and while sat nav is improving, many of us who live in the countryside will know the mayhem postcode reliant navigation systems cause!  Add to that the issues that they may be out of phone signal – cue delays or perhaps even complete abandonment of fuel delivery! Not ideal when you have let the tank run dry! 

Independent distributors like us, will tend to keep tank drivers on the same routes as they know them inside out. They know the roads to take, and where to park their tank so as to provide an efficient and safe delivery.  

#2 – Payment plans 

Most fuel distributors will provide payment plans as it’s way to reward customer loyalty and spread the cost over several months. When you choose to ride the wave of the cheapest supplier, you have to keep setting up new accounts and will often have to pay upfront. Fine if you can afford it, but often this can be inhibitive to many. 

#3 – Quicker delivery times

A company may promise you a saving of 2p per litre but you may have to wait 2 weeks until an oil tanker is in your area. In order to deliver on cheaper prices other compromises are often made. Combining fuel deliveries in the same area is often one of these cost cutting methods which is not ideal if you are already running on fumes!

#4 – Prioritised in wintry conditions 

Oh we get so laid back about this one when we get a mild winter! Then low and behold a beast from the east occurs and the phone line goes red hot. Thick snow pelting it down for weeks on end, country roads left abandoned in priority over key main roads. 

When you stick with the same heating oil supplier, it is quite simple – they want to look after you so that you keep coming back. I know we do! 

#5 – Supporting local businesses

Cheap prices are offered as incentives – it’s a numbers game for the giants in the fuel distribution industry.  Your payment is a drop in their ocean. As an independent fuel distributor we support the local economy. We buy from local businesses both commercially and personally, while we also sponsor and support local initiatives. Why? Because you are what matters! Without you we wouldn’t have a business, but more than that our families are rooted in this area. We are not here for the quick win, we are here for generations to come!

#6 – More enjoyable to stick with the same supplier

When someone picks up the phone and has a friendly chat with you and perhaps even remembers to ask about the baby you had last year – it makes a difference! We are not robots, it feels nice to spend money with people we like! When you stick with the same fuel supplier you build up a relationship with the phone handler and tank delivery person. Not only that because you are on the system already, the whole process is so much quicker and easier to get through.  

Related content: 10 Reasons to buy your heating oil from Carnegie Fuels 

Heating Oil – Are the penny savings really worth it? 

Everyone loves saving, but it’s important to understand if a saving is really a saving! 

While saving 1p per litre might sound good, the saving on a 1000 litre tank is only £10, now think that you only pay this cost twice a year on average.  Is the £20 saved really worth all the hassle of phoning around for hours, then having to direct them over the phone to the property while waiting in for them all morning to appear only for them to arrive at 3pm?  And that’s before you throw in a beast from the east! 

Just like when you buy from other businesses, people buy from people – customer experience matters and it ensures you get looked after when the unexpected happens! 

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