Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will I save money if I upgrade my oil heat system?
  2. Why should I schedule regular maintenance on my oil heating equipment?
  3. Isn't heating oil more expensive than natural gas?
  4. How safe is propane?
  5. What makes up the price of a litre of gasoline at MacEwen?
  6. Why does the price vary from region to region?
  7. Why do MacEwen's prices seem to move in unison with competitors?
  8. Why do gasoline prices seem to go up before a long weekend?
  9. Where can I get more information on fuel pricing?


1. Will I save money if I upgrade my oil heat system?

A: Studies show older equipment is not as effective as more efficient modern units. New oil heating equipment produces the highest average efficiency at 85%. Make an appointment to have your oil heating system evaluated by a MacEwen Home Comfort specialist. After thoroughly inspecting the oil heating equipment, the service technician may suggest an upgrade. A new oil heating system will reduce maintenance and repair costs, lower your oil heating bills, and provide greater peace-of-mind. A new, modern, compact, high efficiency oil heating system will often pay for itself over a short period of time.

2. Why should I schedule regular maintenance on my oil heating equipment?

A: According to studies, oil heating equipment that is maintained annually uses 13% less fuel than units that are not. Approximately 55% of homeowners have their oil heating equipment serviced. Those that don't may experience an increase of 10-15% in fuel bills. Maintenance extends the life of your oil heating equipment by as much as 20-30% which can translate into 5 to 10 years of additional usage for a oil furnace or boiler. Approximately 75% of all emergency repairs can be avoided with regular maintenance.

3. Isn't heating oil more expensive than natural gas?

A: Once the big utilities raise prices for natural gas, they almost never go back down again. Your local oil heating dealers keep heating oil prices as low as possible through good old fashioned competition and a variety of service options. In addition, these smaller, local businesses, like MacEwen, understand the value of superior customer service. A public utility just can't match our dedication. Finally, consider the long-term costs. Oil furnaces last significantly longer than other options, averaging 30 years compared to 15 years for a typical gas furnace. Moreover, a gallon of home heating oil produces more heat compared to a comparable amount of natural gas. In other words, your home heats up faster and stays warmer longer-which saves you money.

4. How safe is propane?

A. The Canadian Propane Association website reports: Some of the characteristics of propane, along with the regulations applied to the equipment, training, and handling, make propane one of the safest fuels when compared to many other fuels such as gasoline, diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG). Strict standards and regulations are in place to govern the production, storage, transportation and use of propane to ensure your safety.

Gasoline Cost Breakdown5. What makes up the price of a litre of gasoline at MacEwen?

A: Four unique costs go into MacEwen's pump price: crude oil, taxes, retail margin, and refining marketing margin.

Gasoline prices go up and down over time and vary from place to place, so the price breakdown for a litre of gasoline also varies.

6. Why does the price vary from region to region?

A: There are a few factors that affect the cost of fuel from region to region. The cost of transportation and taxes (provincial and municipal) varies between regions. The amount of fuel a station can sell may also affect price. A MacEwen service station that sells more fuel and other products may be able to offer customers a lower price than a station that sells less fuel. Retailers in large cities need a smaller operating margin to make a reasonable profit because they are selling more gasoline.

We know MacEwen customers largely base their purchase decisions on price. We have access to the cheapest supply, allowing our customers to pay the lowest prices.

7. Why do MacEwen's prices seem to move in unison with competitors?

Customers are determined to purchase gas at the most affordable rate. MacEwen observes posted prices to ensure our prices are competitive in the market and can adapt quickly to market conditions. Customers will drive across town for as little as two tenths of a cent a litre - a saving of just a dime on a 50-litre fill-up. This means MacEwen retailers have to stay competitive on price or our customers will shop elsewhere.

8. Why do gasoline prices seem to go up before a long weekend?

Statistically, prices tend to rise throughout the summer months when demand increases due to increased summer travel. Consumers tend to pay attention to the price of gasoline on long weekends because they drive more - and refill their gas tanks more often. Supply and demand, and basic business understanding would explain why competitors capitalize on the increase in automobile traffic. MacEwen remains on par with its competitive pricing.

Prices do not necessarily go up on long weekends. Retail prices follow wholesale; wholesale follows world prices for crude, gasoline and distillate futures. The wholesale and retail margins are reasonably consistent on a daily basis and higher prices on a weekend are either a result of higher future trading preceding the weekend or perception.

9. Where can I get more information on fuel pricing?

Where can I get more information on fuel pricing?A: Fuel Focus is a bi-weekly newsletter produced by Natural Resources Canada that analyzes petroleum product prices, trends and events influencing the Canadian market at any given time.

The Canadian Automobile Association has a website geared towards motorists concerned about pump prices.

If you have any further questions about anything related to gasoline, oil, or any MacEwen related topic, please contact us. If you'd like to read some interesting statistics about gasoline, please read Gas Facts.

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