WASHINGTON — U.S. Households will see an 8% drop in heating-fuel costs this winter, but price increases are on the way later in 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Short-Term Energy Outlook.
Average household expenses for natural gas and propane are projected to see a 12% and 14% drop, respectively, EIA says. The monthly "Henry Hub" natural-gas spot price is expected to average $2.32 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) in October, the lowest monthly average spot price since September 2001.
Economic recovery and increasing demand are expected to push prices up and provide the incentive for increasing production in 2010, but end-of-March inventories will still be the highest recorded since March of 1991. Lower breakeven costs for production and growing supply should limit sustained price increases, EIA explains.
Long-range winter weather forecasts have been mixed, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicting that the continental U.S. will be 1% warmer this winter compared to last winter.