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I see that "heating oil", which I presume to mean No. 2 fuel oil, is more expensive than gasoline:

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My understanding was that fuel oil is much easier to refine than gasoline and more of it is produced per barrel of crude than gasoline is produced. Why then is it more expensive?

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    $\begingroup$ Please can you provide a source for these numbers? And please do give us the metadata: what time, which geographic area? These could be spot, or July 2016 forward contracts, or something else. They could be New York, Alaska, Hawaii, or somewhere else. $\endgroup$ – EnergyNumbers Oct 20 '15 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ marketwatch.com/story/… The heating oil industry is fighting back by blending fuels distilled from soybean oil, corn oil and other vegetable and animal fat into its products. Sweetser said these biofuels blend burn cleaner and pollute less, and could help oil retain or grow its share of the heating market. “I certainly wouldn’t count out the heating oil industry, particularly as they move into the bio heat future,” he said. -- Who knows what is actually in heating oil these days. $\endgroup$ – D J Sims Feb 21 '16 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ Gasoline has a lot of tax that oil doesn't have maybe its just old fashion price gouging.Where are the elected voices? $\endgroup$ – Douglas Rogers Feb 11 '18 at 17:05
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I would expect the gasoline market to be more competitive than heating. Transporting heating oil into homes requires large infrastructural investment and high fixed costs, so you'd expect there to be more market power concentrated in a fewer number of firms, driving the price of it up. Creating gasoline for sure requires a lot of investment too, but not for nearly a large area I would imagine.

So basically, consider heating oil an input for a "utility" sort of company, which acts as a natural oligopolist/monopolist. I'm not exactly sure what the market looks like here in the United States, but this is my best guess. Someone else can probably elaborate on this answer or provide an alternative suggestion.

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http://www.energymiser101.com/2008/12/why-is-heating-oil-more-expensive-than-gasoline.html

Here's the best answer I found. It's some sort of lack of capacity or economies of scale problem. Or perhaps its just a more monoplized sector. Nobody seems to know why.

It is known that diesel is more expensive than gas because of unanticipated demand.

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Heating oil always used to be cheaper than gasoline until gas demand dropped a few years ago and the demand for heating oil was still there. The short answer is they charge more because they can. Just as in northern Maine the price differential for a gallon of gas is 40 cents per gallon. It cost 5 cents or less per gallon to transport but there is always at least a 20 cent or more premium. They charge more because they can. It's all about the money!

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    $\begingroup$ This is kind of a non-answer. There could be regulatory reasons, taxes, and a range of other reasons. Heating oil certainly used to be substantially cheaper than gasoline and it is not now. You comment on this saying that gas demand dropped, but don't really offer any evidence or further explanation of this. As far as I know, gasoline consumption in the United States has been generally steady in the last 2 years. $\endgroup$ – Lassie Fair Nov 27 '18 at 19:56

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