I was reading an article in the Ellsworth American recently that State Energy Director Patrick Woodcock said that Mainers pay almost two- thirds more than everybody else in the country to heat their homes.  Reason being is that 68% of our state's people still heat with oil.

This week in Maine, the average price of a gallon of oil is $3.66, thirteen cents higher than a month ago.  According to the Governor's Energy Office, "Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.66) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $26.39. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $15.50 (at $1.55/therm); propane, $31.97 (at $2.92/gallon); wood pellets, $14.67 (at $242/ton); cord wood, $11.36 (at $250/cord) and electricity, $43.96 (at 15 cents per kwh)".

This year I've come across more people who heat with wood exclusively, and the people who do are usually big hard working guys who take special pride in telling me the entire process.  The fell the trees, cut them up, cart the wood back home, split it and then haul it in the wood shed.  I'll be the first to agree that ain't nothing like the feel of wood heat!

Andreas Rentz - Getty Image

I have a pellet stove.  We love it.  Spent the extra bucks to get a quiet one too.  Although, pellets are getting costly, they're now almost six bucks a bag, and on a cold winter day you can burn through a bag in about twelve hours.  But, the oil furnace rarely turns on.

The state and a lot of local municipalities are trying to get you natural gas quickly. It's spreading throughout Bangor and Brewer, it's now being used in some areas of Bucksport, and city folks in Ellsworth are exploring it.  There's even talk about creating a natural gas pipeline to Maine by 2018.  Everyone I know who burns natural gas rave about it citing the warmth and low cost.

Two questions for you today: