Heating costs for U.S. households are expected to rise this winter compared to last according to the United States Environmental Information Administration (EIA). The EIA projects 2013-2014 winter heating costs to increase by 13% for homes that heat primarily with natural gas*, 9% for homes heated with propane, and 2% for homes using electric heat.
If the upcoming winter season is 10% warmer than forecast, natural gas heated households should only expect their fuel bill to increase 3%. But if the upcoming winter season is 10% colder than forecast, these households could see a more dramatic 25% jump in their heating bill.
Americans are used to seeing fuel costs ebb and flow. One of the most common examples is the price at the gas pump. Recently, gasoline prices dropped to their lowest level in nearly 3 years. Still, though a familiar trend, the peaks and valleys of fuel prices are becoming more erratic and more and more dramatic. A history of residential natural gas prices over the past few decades below…
What is one to make of all these ups and downs in fuel costs? Well…that they’re unpredictable. Fossil fuel prices have become increasingly volatile. It’s hard to know what natural gas or propane will cost six months from now, a year from now, let alone 5 to 10 years down the road.
What we DO know, however, is that the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t have to use. Energy conservation, efficiency improvements, and home appliance upgrades are the best ways to keep the cost of operating your home affordable over the long-term.