Residents are finding more ways to cut back on energy costs as uncertainty in the price of crude oil fuels worries that the worst is yet to come. Tara Mitchell, a Somerville resident, covers the windows of her apartment in plastic to keep out the draft.

“I call it Saran-Wrapping the windows because that’s what it looks like,” Mitchell said. “We never have our thermostat higher than 60 degrees and we always turn off the heat when we’re not home.”

Crude oil climbed to a 15-month high at the beginning of January, although prices have tapered off the last two weeks, they are still much higher than last year, according to AAA, Wright Express, and Oil Price Information Service.


National gasoline prices are 86.7 cents higher than January 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Department and home heating oil prices are threatening to break the $3 barrier — 20 percent higher than last year — the Energy and Environmental Affairs Office of Massachusetts reported. Coupled with increasing prices for consumer goods, stretched budgets are feeling the pressure.

For the unemployed, like Mitchell, there is little room for added costs.

“It’s hard for us to pay off the entire bill, so we usually pay it in chunks,” said Mitchell.

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