What's Behind the Spike in Heating Oil Prices

The frigid temperatures this winter have sent the price of fuel soaring. But heating oil businesses aren't celebrating fat profits. Instead they've been struggling to deal with bottlenecks caused by a sharp spike in demand.

“My terminals where trucks load were overwhelmed. They were grabbing any barge in the harbor and loading them at the dock facilities,” said Vincent Allegretti, who runs Bayside Fuel Oil Depot Corporation, which has three harborside locations in Brooklyn.

Allegretti doesn’t fault the weather, exactly. He blames thousands of building operators who switch from gas to oil heat when the temperature drops, creating “artificial demand.”