Winter is still three months away, but news reports are already filtering out about the benefits of today's reduced oil prices.

In Maine, the Maine Sun Journal reported recently that residents who heat with oil would save big this winter. "By one estimate out of the Governor's Energy Office, residential consumers overall could save as much as $157 million over last winter and $323 million over the winter before - and that's just on direct heating oil purchases," the article states. The newspaper notes that current statewide average price for heating oil is $2.03 per gallon, which compares favorably to last year's price of $2.85 and the previous year's price of $3.71. The newspaper estimates an average saving of $600 for heating oil customers compared to last year's costs.

"All the signals are that it's pushing down and might go even lower, which is actually incredible," said Lisa Smith, Senior Planner in the Governor's Energy Office. "North America is producing more than they ever have. Demand's flat, they're pumping out record levels of production, (at) record levels of storage. That's just going to keep depressing prices." University of Maine Prof. Jonathan Rubin told the Sun Journal, "They (the Energy Information Administration) are forecasting oil prices to stay basically at their current prices through the upcoming heating season. That means that fuel oil is going to stay quite, quite inexpensive."

Meanwhile in Connecticut, the Town of Ridgefield is trying to capitalize on today's low oil prices by buying future oil supplies now. "With oil prices at lows not seen for years, the town has already made energy purchases that should take it to end of the 2015-16 fiscal year," the Ridgefield Press reports. "Now town officials are looking to buy close to a half million dollars worth of heating oil, gasoline and diesel fuel for 2016-17."

Town Purchasing Director Jerry Gay said heating oil prices are at a 10-year low. "Very good prices, better than we expected," he said. School Finance Director Paul Hendrickson said the school administration was also likely to make some heating fuel purchases soon, to take advantage of the low prices. "We're looking at purchasing probably at least 100,000 gallons [of heating oil] by the end of September if the price remains where it is, or lower," he said, noting that "Energy prices are low and obviously it's to our advantage to purchase when it's low."

To read the Maine Sun Journal article, click here.

To read the Ridgefield Press article, click here.