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Heating Oil Delivery

An oil "ticket" is the receipt that the oil company uses to record the oil quantity dispensed at each delivery. An oil truck’s oil pump has a meter that measures how much oil is being dispensed. It’s the same type of meter that gas pumps have at gas stations. When your oil truck driver finishes pumping your oil, the meter prints the oil quantity directly on the ticket. The driver leaves one copy of the ticket in your mailbox, and keeps one copy for the company’s records.

Example heating oil ticket

heating oil ticket

Many states require that oil companies provide paper oil tickets. Some states enable homeowners to opt in to electronic tickets instead of paper tickets.

Automatic heating oil delivery means that your heating oil company uses special software to estimate your oil usage, and the company delivers oil when the software says that you are probably running low on oil. Typically, homeowners order automatic delivery in conjunction with a 1-year oil delivery contract, but many companies offer automatic delivery without a contract. The benefit of automatic delivery is the convenience of never needing to check your oil gauge. The drawback of automatic delivery is that you can't always get the best heating oil prices because you can't price-shop for each delivery.

Will-call, COD fuel company, and cash heating oil order are all equivalent terms meaning that you, the homeowner, occasionally check your oil gauge and place heating oil delivery orders when you’re running low.

Heating Oil Pricing Plans & Payment Plans

  • Floating (a.k.a. "Market price") plan: The price per gallon is determined either on the day you place the order (for on-demand oil orders) or the day of delivery (for automatic delivery).
  • Fixed price plan: A price per gallon and number of gallons are quoted on the day that you sign the 1-year contract, and that is the price you pay for the length of the contract. If your oil usage exceeds the quoted number of gallons before the contract expires, you automatically switch over to a floating plan for the duration of the contract.
  • Price protection (a.k.a. "Capped price") plan: A maximum price per gallon and number of gallons are quoted on the day you sign the 1-year contract. For the length of the contract, on the day of each oil delivery, your oil company's floating price per gallon is compared with your quoted maximum price per gallon, and you pay whichever price is lower. Price protection plans have either a one-time fee paid at the beginning of the contract or a per-gallon fee that is incorporated into the price per gallon that you pay.
  • Prepay: Pay for each oil delivery at the time you place an order. Common for on-demand orders.
  • Post-pay: Pay for each oil delivery after you receive the oil delivery. In this case, either the company sends you a bill, or if your bank account or credit card are on file with the company, the company automatically debits the payment. This is common with automatic delivery.
  • Budget Payment Plan: Your oil company forecasts your total heating oil cost for the upcoming year, divides that number by 12, and sends you 12 equal monthly bills for that amount. The final month’s bill is adjusted to compensate for the difference between the forecasted and actual cost. The most typical budget payment plan is 12 months, but 10 and 11-month plans also exist.

Many full-service heating oil delivery companies offer both pricing plans and payment plans, so it's important to distinguish between the two.

  • Pricing Plans determine the price per gallon of oil that you pay. Examples of pricing plans include "floating," "fixed," and "capped."
  • Payment Plans determine when you make payments for heating oil. Examples of payment plans include "prepay," "post-pay," and "budget."