Heating oil is becoming significantly more expensive – so you can still save money

Updated on October 4th, 2021, 1:40 p.m.

  • The cost of heating oil is likely to become significantly more expensive in 2021 than in previous years.
  • We have put together the most important tips so that owners of an oil heater can still save.
  • When is the best time to buy the oil? How do you compare prices and are bulk orders worthwhile?

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From 2026, new oil heating systems will no longer be allowed to be installed in Germany, but they will still be in operation in many cellars. In order for the heating to run, users have to have the tanks filled with heating oil. And that should be significantly more expensive in 2021 than in previous years.

That goes out the new heating mirror emerged. On average, heating with oil is around 40 percent more expensive this year than it was in 2020. With a few tips and tricks, however, you can still save money when filling your home oil tank.

If you refuel early, you can save money

Heating oil prices usually fluctuate strongly over the course of the year: They depend, among other things, on the costs of crude oil and transport, but also on the economy and political unrest.

The specific need also plays an important role, as stated by the Federation of Energy Consumers. “This is why heating oil is always cheaper when there is not so much demand. This is regularly the case when it is warm outside and nobody thinks about the heating,” explains the chairman of the interest group, Leonora Holling.

That is why it is often said that the annual low demand should be used to buy heating oil. In the spring and summer, the demand for heating oil is usually lower, which means that the price also tends, says Louis Stahl from the Association of Energy Consumers.

But this rule is not universal. The reason: The exchange prices for crude oil traded worldwide, which are decisive for the heating oil price, do not depend on German demand alone. Worldwide supply, demand and speculation influence prices. In 2014 and 2015, for example, heating oil was significantly cheaper in winter than in summer.

Heating oil: watch and compare prices

Ideally, homeowners should keep an eye on prices all year round – and “don’t wait until the last drop before refueling,” recommends Martin Brandis, an expert at the consumer advice center for energy. He points out that delivery times can sometimes be several weeks.

The prices do not only differ depending on the season, but also with different suppliers. “We always recommend comparing providers,” says Holling. Various portals on the Internet can help. Users can enter where they live and how many liters they need. You will then receive an individual list with offers including prices, delivery time and ordering options. To find out what you need, it is best to use a dipstick or the volume display on the tank, advises Brandis.

Order heating oil with friends or neighbors

Buying heating oil can be cheaper if you join forces with others and place a bulk order for a larger amount of heating oil. “It pays off when the retailer grants a discount. However, this is not always the case,” explains the consumer advice center expert. With various internet price calculators for heating oil, consumers can get an estimate of possible discounts before ordering.

There are other things that customers need to consider before teaming up with others. Brandis: “Dealers have conditions, for example that all delivery points have the same zip code and / or that they are as far apart as possible.”

In addition, joint ordering is only worthwhile for the main buyer if not everyone else is ordering less oil than he is. Because the total price is based on the average purchase quantity of all buyers. If the cut falls, it becomes more expensive. It is also important to know that all bulk buyers are liable if one does not pay. Then you have to pay for him. There is one exception: some suppliers issue all bulk buyers with their own invoice on request – then nobody is liable for the others.

Don’t be afraid of surcharges for small quantities

Heating oil suppliers often charge a surcharge for small orders of up to 1,500 liters. But that’s less than expected, says expert Stahl. Dividing a refueling into two smaller extra orders would cost an average of 50 to 80 euros.

If the prices drop, the additional costs for the second journey quickly pay off. But the whole thing is a bit of a gamble: if the prices continue to rise, it will be even more expensive at a later point in time.

Check service and reputation

However, the cost alone should not determine the purchase. According to Holling, the services must also be included – for example: How long does it take for the oil to be delivered? What quantities are possible and how long is the price valid?

A provider must also be serious, as Holling says. Buyers can usually check the reputation of a supplier on the comparison portals: There, users often have the opportunity to rate the seller.

Nevertheless, things can go wrong with delivery. “Unfortunately, consumers keep reporting that the fuel gauges run incorrectly,” explains the expert from the association. Customers should therefore be there when the tanker truck drives up and check the acceptance.

Important: The meter reading on the tanker should definitely be at zero when the refueling process begins. Buyers can request this – and otherwise refuse to accept the oil. It is best to observe the meter reading during the refueling process – there should also be no air bubbles in the sight glass. At the end of the day, the total on the meter must also be recorded on the delivery note. (updated by thp)

Note: This is an article from our archive that we have updated.

Sources used:

  • German press agency
  • Conversation with Leonora Holling, chairwoman of the “Bund der Energieverbumpen” (Association of Energy Consumers)
  • Conversation with Martin Brandis, energy consultancy “Federation of German Consumer Organizations”
  • Strom-Magazin.de: When is the best time to buy heating oil?

Whether in the kitchen, bathroom, living room or children’s room: potential power guzzlers lurk everywhere in your home. With the following tips you can take a close look at these areas in your household – and save electricity in one place or another.


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