PORTLAND, Maine — New census figures show that fewer Maine residents are using oil to heat their homes than at any point since 1980.
The figures show that in 2009, 71.4 percent of Maine residents used oil as their primary heat source, down from 80 percent in 2000.
The decline in oil heat coincides with an increase in the number of Mainers using wood to heat their homes.
The steepest drop in the number of people using oil heat followed the 2008 spike in crude oil prices.
State Energy Director John Kerry tells the Portland Press Herald there’s no question people are responding to the marketplace by using less oil, but he doesn’t believe the change is permanent.