Pandemic means heating oil sales up, gasoline sales down, snow tires in short supply

Reported recently by the Vermont Fuel Dealers:

Vermont Fuel Dealers Assoc. photo

The concern continues for the more than 1600 fuel oil tanks on the Vermont Red Tag List. In the past two weeks, 48 tanks have been tagged. The good news is that there is now nearly twice the amount of money for the Vermont Tank Replacement Grant Program.

The program, which is funded by a 1-cent per gallon fee on oilheat and kerosene, was nearly out of cash before $300,000 was transferred last week from federal CARES Act funding.

Hazard Pay
Convenience stores and other retailers that were open to the general public between March 13 and May 15 may be eligible Vermont’s Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program. Under the program, payments of $1,200 or $2,000 per employee are distributed on a first come first served basis. A summary of who should apply, who gets the money and how it all works can be found here.  

Another $8 million was added just added to the hazard pay program and the deadline to apply has been extended to next Wednesday. While heating fuel employees are designated as essential, they are unlikely to qualify for a grant because of limited interaction with the public. Meanwhile, the Vermont Joint Fiscal Committee will be meeting on Saturday morning at 10am (watch live here) to figure out what to do with $75 million in unspent CARES Act funds.

Warm fall, so far – 1039 heating degree days have been recorded outside VFDA’s office since September 1. That’s 8% less than normal and 6% less than last year.  

Vermont Election Recap 

  • Governor Phil Scott received more votes in Vermont than President-Elect Joe Biden.
  • Scott received more than two and a half times more votes than his opponent, David Zuckerman.
  • Speaker of the House Rep. Mitzi Johnson lost a spot in her two seat district in Grand Isle. 
  • There is now a three way scramble to become the next Speaker of the House. Jill Krowinski from Burlington, Sarah Copeland-Hanzas from Bradford and Charlie Kimbell from Woodstock are running for the top job. Copeland-Hanzas is the leader of the Climate Caucus and an advocate for a carbon tax.
  • While the Republican Party gained four seats in the House, they do not have enough votes to sustain a veto without help. 
  • The top vote getter in the six seat Chittenden County Senate district was Thomas Chittenden, a moderate Democrat.
  • While the Republican Party gained one seat in the Senate, the Democratic Party still has a super majority.

News of Note
Bernie Sanders confirms interest in becoming Biden’s Labor secretary.

What the Biden Administration could do on climate change immediately upon taking office.

With the October storm and the pandemic, snow tires are in short supply.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban natural gas in all new construction.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that Covid-19 will increase residential energy consumption as more people stay home, turn up the heat and power up their electric appliances.

EIA expects average household heating oil consumption will increase 11% compared with last winter, due to colder weather and more people working and attending school at home. The EIA also forecasts a decrease in transportation fuels as fewer people are commuting to work.In August, gasoline demand across the United States was down nearly 13.5% over last year.

Sales of gasoline in Vermont were down 17% over the first nine months of 2020 when compared with the same period last year.  Click here to take a closer look at the numbers. 

The Vermont Public Service Department has published the average fuel prices for November. Go to tinyurl.com/pricereportvt for details.

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