According to Mass Energy, a heating oil company that services Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the largest factor affecting the cost of oil in Rhode Island in 2015 is consumer demand. International politics and New England weather conditions also affect the cost of oil.
Other factors that affect the cost of oil in Rhode Island include the economy in China and the output of the American oil industry. China is the second largest consumer of oil in the world, and when demand in that country falls, the price of oil goes down in the United States. The majority of American oil is extracted from shale which is not as reliable a method as other forms of extraction. This leads to sudden upturns and downturns in the amount of oil available.