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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Federal and industry estimates that the price of home heating oil will increase 10 percent this winter are too high, a University of Tennessee oil industry specialist said Wednesday.

“Ten percent is an exaggerated estimate. Five percent at the max,” said Dr. Ziad Keilany, a UT-Chattanooga economist.

Americans paid an average 92.6 cents per gallon for home heating oil last year, and the Department of Energy and the American Petroleum Institute estimate consumers can expect to pay more than $1 a gallon this winter.

“The world supplies are abundant, but if you take two or three major U.S. refineries out of action, for whatever reason, their capacity to pile up supplies of home heating oil is diminished. That’s the reason the price is likely to go up,” Keilany said.

“Three months from now, the supplies will be replenished. Besides, if you really need (refined) oil that much, you can import it from elsewhere.”

Contact: Dr. Ziad Keilany (423-755-4116)