Homeowners who use domestic heating oil are being urged to order their winter fuel early to avoid the Christmas rush.
Tim Claxton, manager of Rix Petroleum at Rashercap, Felton, said residents risk waiting longer for their fuel and paying higher prices by ordering too close to the festive season.
According to Mr Claxton, traditional buying patterns reveal heating oil is at the bottom of the Christmas shopping list, with many people leaving it to the last minute to buy.
This can put supply firms under excessive pressure, he said, particularly if the weather is bad, and can leave consumers facing higher bills and longer waiting times for their fuel.
He added: “By waiting to the last minute, the consumer can actually miss out.”
Mr Claxton urged people to keep a close eye on their heating oil levels and if at all possible, avoid ordering in the week running up to Christmas.
He added that Rix Petroleum only closes for Christmas Day and Boxing Day so people are able to buy heating oil throughout the festive period, meaning there is no need to panic buy.