The Nebraska Energy Office has participated in the State Heating Oil and Propane Program for fifteen winter seasons. During the heating season (October to March), the staff contact companies each week who supply heating oil to Nebraska, collect Monday's retail price, and submit the data to the Energy Information Administration. The Energy Information Administration calculates the average price shown in the table above.
At times, Nebraska's average residential heating oil price has been the lowest price in the Midwest Region. The Energy Information Administration theorized that this was due to minimal transportation costs. Another reason would be the number of participating states. Since state participation in the program is voluntary, heating oil prices were not surveyed in each state in the Midwest Region. Kansas and Oklahoma might also have had low prices—possibly lower than Nebraska's because the two states are closer to heating oil sources.
During the off season (April through September), time permitting, the Nebraska Energy Office staff continue to contact the same suppliers who were contacted during the heating season. Staff contact suppliers once a month instead of once a week since the price of heating oil is usually not volatile during the off season. The Nebraska Energy Office staff calculate the average price, shown in the table above, from the suppliers' retail prices on the first Monday of the month.
The Energy Information Administration, the independent statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy, conducts the State Heating Oil and Propane Program from October to March—the heating season—each year. The Energy Information Administration collects prices for the program each week from participating states and calculates a state average price, a regional average price, and a national average price which can be seen in the report Weekly Heating Oil and Propane Prices.
For statistical purposes, the Energy Information Administration defines the Midwest Region to include the states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. All but six states are participating in this survey. Those six states are Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennessee.
The prices represent average residential home heating charge prices for home delivery of No. 2 heating oil, excluding taxes and cash discounts.
A general rule of thumb: A dollar increase in the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price per barrel will result in a 2.5–cent increase in the price of heating oil per gallon. Likewise, a dollar decrease in the WTI crude oil price per barrel will result in a 2.5–cent decrease in the price of heating oil per gallon.