Higher Heating Bills Coming This Winter, Feds Warn

Costs for natural gas heat could rise 50%, the government predicted in a report

Woman wearing fleece jacket and rubbing hands in her cold home
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Higher fuel prices and predicted colder weather will mean steeper-than-usual heating bills for U.S. households this winter, a government agency warned this week. 

Households that use natural gas, the most popular heating fuel, can expect to pay an average of $746 for the whole winter (October to March), 30% more than last year, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report Wednesday. A colder-than-expected winter could drive those figures even higher, with natural gas potentially costing as much as 50% more than last year. 

Households relying on electricity for heating—mainly those in warm southeastern states—can expect a more modest 6% increase, bringing their electric bills to an average of $1,268 for the season. The small percentage of homes that burn propane should brace for a 54% increase, while those that use heating oil are likely to see increases of 43%. 

Prices for home heating sources have been rising sharply this year along with those for gasoline, helping speed up inflation, as the U.S. depletes natural gas reserves by exporting more liquefied natural gas. On top of that, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting a colder winter than last year in much of the country. 

“As we have moved beyond what we expect to be the deepest part of the pandemic-related economic downturn, growth in energy demand has generally outpaced growth in supply,” said EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley in a statement. “These dynamics are raising energy prices around the world.”

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