WASHINGTON — If you dislike winter for more than falling temperatures, your feelings may be justified. Natural gas costs this winter are expected to be 10% higher than last winter, according to the recently released Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) short-term energy and winter fuels outlook. This expected increase reflects the combined effects of a 6% increase in price and a 3% increase in consumption.
The price hikes are expected to be greater for those individuals using heating oil or propane. Heating oil prices are expected to skyrocket, with users paying 22% more this winter. Propane users can expect to pay 16% more this winter.
A variety of factors, such as increased demand and winter temperatures, can affect your bills. This year’s winter will be about 4% colder compared with last winter, though still 2% warmer than the 30-year average, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s most recent predictions. Because of the colder winter, natural gas consumption is expected to increase. With this in mind, natural gas bills may be slightly higher in the Midwest this winter than in other parts of the country.
The next EIA short-term energy outlook is due out Nov. 6. Cheer up, things can change — hopefully for the better.