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US: Firewood gaining popularity over heating oil

Two related stories:

Rising Gas Prices Push Up Firewood Costs

By CLARKE CANFIELD. Published 1st Jan 2004, The Guardian.

Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Firewood sales - and prices - are rising in New England and parts of the West this winter, fueled by increasingly expensive oil and kerosene.

The strong demand has pushed prices to their highest levels ever, said Peter Lammert, a forester with the Maine Forest Service.

Seasoned firewood is now selling for roughly $180 to $230 a cord compared to between $140 and $160 a year ago in Maine, he said. Similar prices are being reported in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Ray Colton of Pittsfield, Vt., said his company has sold more than 4,000 cords this season, about 1,000 more than last year: ``We're selling as fast as we produce,'' he said.

A cord is a stack of firewood 4 feet wide, 8 feet long and 4 feet high.

Oil prices are hovering at close to $2 a gallon in Maine, up more than 30 percent from a year ago. At $2.18 a gallon, kerosene is 56 cents more than last year. And propane averages $2.06 a gallon, up 43 cents from a year ago.

Prices are also up out West, including in Colorado, where local hardwood begins at $180 per cord and imported oak costs $300.

Even with firewood prices heating up, Paul Reed Jr., owner of Reed's Firewood in Durham, said consumers can still save hundreds of dollars in the winter by burning wood.

``Firewood at $180 a cord is still a deal compared to what it costs to heat your home with oil,'' he said.,1282,-4705612,00.html

Firewood offers savings over heating oil

By AP. Published 1st Jan 2004, Maine News

A hundred gallons of home heating oil generates roughly 14 million BTUs of heat. A cord of hardwood firewood generates about 20 or 21 million BTUs of heat.

Using that formula, it´s a simple matter of math to figure out how much consumers can save using wood to heat their home.

If a home uses 1,200 gallons of heating oil over a winter, it would cost $1,800 to heat at $1.50 a gallon, or $2,160 at $1.80 a gallon. The average statewide price of oil last week was $1.91 a gallon, according to the State Planning Office.

A homeowner would require about eight cords of wood to generate the same amount of heat. If the wood cost $150 to $200 a cord, the cost would be $1,200 to $1,600. Under this scenario, the savings would be between $200 and nearly $1,000.

Peter Lammert of the Maine Forest Service said homeowners can cut their bills even more by buying green wood, which is less expensive than seasoned wood, in the spring and having it dry out in their yards. They can save even more by buying tree-length pieces of wood and cutting it and splitting it themselves.

"People should buy their wood early," he said.

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