The Heat is On

Though it might not seem like it this year, winter is indeed here in New England. That means it’s supposed to get cold, and when it gets cold, people need heat. For many in Massachusetts, that means a reliance on home heating oil, an increasingly expensive fuel source, especially when compared to natural gas. With three refineries in Pennsylvania set to stop production soon, prices have started to increase.

The New York Times asked me to head out to North Brookfield, Mass., to follow the daily routine of an oil company and to see how their customers deal with the high costs of heating their home. You can read the full story here.

Here’s an extended take from the assignment:

1/11/2012 -- NORTH BROOKFIELD, Mass. -- Rob Thompson, driver for Crowley Fuel Co. Inc., refills his truck with heating oil from his company's storage facility on Jan. 11, 2012. Some analysts are predicting fuel shortages and price increases in anticipation of the closing of three refineries in Pennsylvania. (Kelvin Ma for The New York Times)

1/11/2012 -- NORTH BROOKFIELD, Mass. -- Rob Thompson, driver for Crowley Fuel Co. Inc., refills his truck with heating oil from his company's storage facility on Jan. 11, 2012. Some analysts are predicting fuel shortages and price increases in anticipation of the closing of three refineries in Pennsylvania. (Kelvin Ma/Kelvin Ma for The New York Times)

1/11/2012 -- WEST BROOKFIELD, Mass. -- Rob Thompson, driver for Crowley Fuel Co. Inc., makes a delivery of heating oil to a home in West Brookfield, Mass., on Jan. 11, 2012. Some analysts are predicting fuel shortages and price increases in anticipation of the closing of three refineries in Pennsylvania. (Kelvin Ma for The New York Times)

1/11/2012 -- WEST BROOKFIELD, Mass. -- Rob Thompson, driver for Crowley Fuel Co. Inc., makes a delivery of heating oil to a home in West Brookfield, Mass., on Jan. 11, 2012. Some analysts are predicting fuel shortages and price increases in anticipation of the closing of three refineries in Pennsylvania. (Kelvin Ma/Kelvin Ma for The New York Times)

1/11/2012 -- WEST BROOKFIELD, Mass. -- The oil pump on Crowley Fuel Co. Inc., driver Rob Thompson's truck counts down during a delivery of heating oil to a home in West Brookfield, Mass., on Jan. 11, 2012. Some analysts are predicting fuel shortages and price increases in anticipation of the closing of three refineries in Pennsylvania. (Kelvin Ma for The New York Times)

1/11/2012 -- WEST BROOKFIELD, Mass. -- The oil pump on Crowley Fuel Co. Inc., driver Rob Thompson's truck counts down during a delivery of heating oil to a home in West Brookfield, Mass., on Jan. 11, 2012. Some analysts are predicting fuel shortages and price increases in anticipation of the closing of three refineries in Pennsylvania. (Kelvin Ma for The New York Times)

1/11/2012 -- NORTH BROOKFIELD, Mass. -- After delivering 184.4 gallons of heating oil to a home in North Brookfield, Mass., Crowley Fuel Co. Inc., driver Rob Thompson calculated a bill of $680.44 on Jan. 11, 2012. Some analysts are predicting fuel shortages and price increases in anticipation of the closing of three refineries in Pennsylvania. (Kelvin Ma/Kelvin Ma for The New York Times)

1/11/2012 -- NORTH BROOKFIELD, Mass. -- After delivering 184.4 gallons of heating oil to a home in North Brookfield, Mass., Crowley Fuel Co. Inc., driver Rob Thompson calculated a bill of $680.44 on Jan. 11, 2012. Some analysts are predicting fuel shortages and price increases in anticipation of the closing of three refineries in Pennsylvania. (Kelvin Ma for The New York Times)

1/11/2012 -- NORTH BROOKFIELD, Mass. -- Dave Harris, a retired project manager for a company that designs fossil fuel power plants, loads up a weekend's worth of fire wood for his home in North Brookfield, Mass., after receiving a delivery of heating oil from Crowley Fuel Co. Inc., on Jan. 11, 2012. Harris supplements the oil heat in his home by cutting the trees on his 5-acre property for firewood. He said he has enough to last this winter and the next. Some analysts are predicting fuel shortages and price increases in anticipation of the closing of three refineries in Pennsylvania. (Kelvin Ma for The New York Times)

1/11/2012 -- NORTH BROOKFIELD, Mass. -- Dave Harris, a retired project manager for a company that designs fossil fuel power plants, loads up a weekend's worth of fire wood for his home in North Brookfield, Mass., after receiving a delivery of heating oil from Crowley Fuel Co. Inc., on Jan. 11, 2012. Harris supplements the oil heat in his home by cutting the trees on his 5-acre property for firewood. He said he has enough to last this winter and the next. Some analysts are predicting fuel shortages and price increases in anticipation of the closing of three refineries in Pennsylvania. (Kelvin Ma/Kelvin Ma for The New York Times)

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