Sorry for yet another oil vs. propane post, but I've spent quite literally HOURS researching this issue and have yet to reach a definitive answer.
My question is deceptively simple: What am I missing?
First, I'll get the easy stuff out of the way: I understand that propane has fewer BTUs than oil, even after efficiency loses are factored in (5% for propane, 20% or so for oil). I have also extrapolated the cost per 100K or million BTUs based on net BTU yields and prices per gallon.
Second, I understand that many feel propane is a cleaner fuel, and requires less maintenance as oil is, well, dirty. I am concerned at longer term availability and cost.
Third, I have an older heat pump and am contemplating a newer & more efficient multi stage unit.
What puzzles me is how to bring it all together. At current local prices of $4.50-$4.75 /gallon for oil and $2.85 for propane, I get approximately $4.05-$4.28 per 100K btu for oil and $3.28 for propane. For now at least propane appears cheaper, but that can be deceptive or a short lived phenomena.
The problem is that when I look at historical data things change dramatically. Over the last 10-12 years propane has generally been HIGHER than oil, despite it's lower BTU yield per gallon. Seems that this has reversed only in the last few years. See here: http://www.nyserda.org/energy_information/nyep8.pdf
How does one make an intelligent decision or even an educated guess? In short, what am I missing and/or what questions do I need to ask?
Thanks to all in advance for their time and courtesies.