PORTLAND, Maine — The statewide average price of No. 2 heating oil dipped just below the $2 per gallon mark in the latest survey from the Governor’s Energy Office, marking the lowest statewide average price in 10 years.

The survey taken earlier this week found the statewide average price dropped 9 cents since late August, to $1.99 per gallon, as kerosene and propane prices also have fallen partly in response to lower crude oil prices.

The statewide price for kerosene dropped 11 cents per gallon to $2.65, and propane dropped 7 cents per gallon to $2.14.

With more than 60 percent of Maine homes heated by oil, the low prices offer broad economic benefits for homeowners in the state, but the Governor’s Energy Office noted many homes remain exposed to fluctuations in those energy prices.

“Maine is vulnerable to the volatility of these markets, simply because so much of our economy still depends on the price and availability of oil,” the energy office said in its price report. “It is this price volatility, or the mere speculation of prices rising, that highlights the importance of planning for the state’s long-term energy future.”

The state recently received a $284,000 federal grant to create a long-range energy plan, which Patrick Woodcock, energy office director, said will involve strategies to protect the state from exposure to price volatility in commodity markets such as oil.

“Without a comprehensive roadmap, Maine will continue to be unprepared for price volatility, be constrained in its ability to access natural gas, and prolong its dependence on imported fossil fuels, all of which will restrict the state’s ability to build businesses and create jobs,” Woodcock said.

The highest per-gallon price was reported in eastern Maine, at $2.44 per gallon, in the most recent survey. The lowest price was in the southern part of the state at $1.70.

The statewide average price is the cash price for customers buying at least 900 gallons for the heating season.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.