Heating oil is oil that is burned as fuel in furnaces inside of buildings. The oil is usually delivered by tanker truck to individual homes and business places, and the oil is stored in oil tanks in the basement or outside, next to the building. If oil leaks into the ground, it's an environmental problem because even a small leak can cause major groundwater pollution, making the water from wells and springs unusable because chemicals from the oil are harmful to both humans and animals. Heating oil is usually dyed to make sure it is not confused with vehicle fuel.
Among processed fuels, the need for heating oil has been going down, while the usage of liquefied petroleum gas has increased.
Investors and suppliers trade contracts that promise the delivery of large amounts of heating oil before a certain date in the future, at a specific price. These futures contracts trade in units of 42,000 gallons, which is the same as 1,000 barrels. Prices are based on delivery in New York City harbor, the main cash market trading center.