Nobody knows how cold it will be by December. But experts believe that the warm start of the year and the mild autumn so far could make heating cheaper for most in 2018. But not for everyone.

Compared to natural gas and district heating, oil heating emits the most climate-damaging CO2.

WIf you live in a house with oil heating, you have to be prepared for significantly higher heating costs. For 2018, the average bill is expected to be almost 8 percent higher than in the previous year, the consulting company co2online told the German press agency. It is different with gas and district heating: Those who heat with them are likely to pay 3 percent less than in 2017. Reasons are, for example, the comparatively warm spring this year and the so far quite mild autumn.

For a 70-square-meter apartment in a medium-sized apartment building, the authors expect an average heating cost bill of 765 euros for natural gas (-25 euros), for heating oil of 810 euros (+60 euros) and for district heating of 870 euros (-25 euros). “This would mean that heating with heating oil would lose its cost advantage and would again be more expensive than heating with natural gas,” the company said when it came to the annual presentation of the so-called heating level. Consumers can use it to compare their costs and get tips on saving.

The oil price has recently risen sharply worldwide. The study assumes a price increase of 13 percent for heating oil for the year as a whole, whereas only 1.5 percent is expected for natural gas and district heating. In the past three years, heating with oil was still the cheapest of the three energy sources.

Refurbishment status decisive for heating costs

In comparison, oil heating emits the most climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2): 319 grams per kilowatt hour. For district heating it is 261 grams, for natural gas 250 grams. If the less efficient half of all residential buildings were renovated, the CO2 emissions from heating could be almost halved, write the Heizspiegel authors. The client is the Federal Environment Ministry and the partner is the German Tenants’ Association.

Almost every second household in Germany is heated with gas, a good every fourth with oil and every seventh with district heating. But not only the fuel plays a role. “The renovation status is the most underestimated factor for heating costs,” said co2online managing director Tanja Loitz. “In an energetically poorer house, the heating costs are on average twice as high as in an energetically better house.”