Fox News Weather Center

Winter 2014-2015 to Yield Lower Heating Oil Costs in Northeast

United States household expenditures for heating oil will decrease this winter season compared with last winter, the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced. Those with natural gas heat, however, can expect a slightly higher total.

Expenditures for heating oil, in particular, were projected in early October to fall 27 percent from the 2013-2014 winter season "unless there is a repeat of last winter's cold weather," the EIA said.

In the near future, the forecast for much of the East works in favor of keeping these costs low, according to Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok.

Cold air is forecast to surge into the Northeast in late November, but the brunt of the season will hold off until January and February.

"Since the cost of crude oil fell in the fall, we will start the winter season near the bottom price-wise," Pastelok said.

"Even with a rise in cost by mid-winter as consumption increases, it will probably still be lower than other years at that time period."

A significant rise is not expected for the region in November as temperatures waffle back and forth.

"I think when you get to late December and January prices will start to creep up and when you get to later January and February, that's when you'll see costs start to climb."

Some Arctic air from the polar vortex will slip down into the region at times in the middle of the winter.

The polar vortex is a mass of very cold air that usually sits above the Arctic Circle and is contained by strong winds. As demonstrated last winter, it can, at times, be pushed farther south delivering icy blasts of air to parts of the northern United States.

This year, the extreme cold air will not be as persistent as it was in the 2013-2014 season in the Northeast, when record-shattering lows and several-day stretches of below-zero temperatures occurred.

If the season plays out as forecast, households using heating oil may accumulate hundreds of dollars in savings this winter.

"That goes a long way during the holiday season," Pastelok said.

The same cannot be said for natural gas, however, which was projected by the EIA in late September to rise six percent from last winter.