Just because you had the cheapest provider last year, doesn't mean you have the cheapest provider this year. Call around to compare oil prices; and if you find a better deal, go after it. Not sure whom to call? Look up "heating oil supplier" in the phone book for a list of companies in your area.
Tip: Before you switch companies, give your current provider a chance to match their competitor's price. If they're willing to deal, it'll mean less work for you.
Fill Up Off Season
Oil prices tend to go up with demand, so have your tank filled in the summer when everyone else is thinking about iced tea and air conditioning.
Join a Co-op
Fork over $25 or $30 for a membership to a fuel co-op to gain access to discounted oil rates, and you could shave as much as 20% off of your heating costs. How's that for a return on your investment?
Snag Every Discount that You're Eligible For
Call customer service, and ask them to run through all available discounts with you. If you hear anything that you qualify for (and aren't getting), work with them to get it set up.
Discounts to Ask About: special rates for large tanks/fills and senior citizens
Choose the Best Pricing Option for You
Heating oil prices are constantly on the move. Choose a pricing plan that makes the most of those movements, and you could save big. Here's an overview of your pricing options:
Market Price- You pay whatever the going rate is on the day of delivery. There's no contract, and you have to schedule deliveries when you need them. A good option, if you only want to fill up when prices are low
Fixed Price- You lock in a price for the year. It doesn't go up or down even if the current rate moves up or down. A good option, if you think increases are likely or you want to limit budget surprises
Capped Price- You're protected from large increases (rates can't go past a certain level), and your prices can still go down, if the current price drop. A good option, if you think a price drop is likely
Avoid Extra Fees
Don't let a bunch of hidden fees gobble up all your discounts. Each time you call to schedule a delivery, ask for a breakdown of your bill. If anything sounds excessive or unnecessary, question it.
Some Fees to Look Out For: delivery charges, fuel surcharges and premiums charged for deliveries made after hours, on weekends or during bad weather
Use Less Heating Oil
Using cheap oil is good, using less oil is better. Once you've done everything you can to reduce your oil costs, work to cut back on how much you're using: