Crowdsourcing Site Aims for Transparency in the Heating Fuels Market

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Imperfect Markets creates a web site to solve a pricing problem nagging home and business owners since heating systems were invented

The market for heating oil and propane is notoriously secretive, as vendor pricing information is generally not published. This is exactly the kind of problem that the Internet is supposed to solve. A new website, fuelwonk, promises to finally bring transparency to the heating fuels market.

The primary goal of the site is to make accurate and timely pricing information available to consumers. In addition to revealing formerly inaccessible prices, fuelwonk also provides comprehensive background information about the vendors. A detailed dossier is compiled for each vendor, including ratings, links to social networking sites and historical-pricing information.

The Internet has already solved the problem of “imperfect markets” for many industries. For example, we are all accustomed to quickly finding and comparing prices for hotels and airline tickets, which would have been impossible 20 years ago. Other, more entrenched closed markets, like pharmaceuticals, have recently been opened up by sites like GoodRX.

The heating fuels market stubbornly resisted this trend, because inadequate resources had been devoted to the task. Now that Imperfect Markets, LLC has invested the necessary financial and technological resources in developing fuelwonk, the inevitable end of the closed, secretive pricing system is at hand.

In creating this website, both commercial and residential users were surveyed. Most users were found to be frustrated with how difficult it was to obtain precise current- and historical-pricing information. Only the most determined consumers felt they were able to obtain a fair deal. There are special offers for "today only" pricing, which do not provide a clear picture of what a long-term business relationship with a particular fuel vendor would entail. The average home that uses heating oil or propane spends over $2,000 per year for these basic commodities. Businesses can spend many times more than that amount for heating and industrial-process needs.

Fuelwonk has solved the problem of providing both current- and historical-pricing for heating oil and propane. Fuelwonk empowers users, both residential and commercial, to easily compare and shop for the best prices. Users who sign up now at, receive a free, lifetime membership.

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Bob Silverstein
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