Booming energy production has the U.S. awash in oil and natural gas, and those low prices promise to translate to cheaper heating bills for most Americans this winter, according to new analysis from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). And it’s not only homes heated by natural gas that will be saving money in the coming colder months—houses heated by propane and heating oil are also expected to see discounts. The New York Times reports:
The nearly half of American households that are heated with natural gas can expect a decline of 10 percent in their gas spending, the agency said. The department’s Energy Information Administration, in its Winter Fuels Outlook report, forecast a 6 percent decline in residential natural gas consumption this winter because of higher temperatures, while prices will be 4 percent lower than they were last winter.An even bigger savings will go to homes that rely on heating oil, mostly in the Northeast, with households saving 25 percent. Retail prices are expected to be 15 percent lower, while consumption is expected to be 11 percent lower. The average household could pay roughly $460 less than last winter.Propane users, mostly in rural areas and in the Midwest, are expected to spend 21 percent less this winter than last. Total electricity expenditures are expected to be 3 percent lower than last winter.
It’s often overlooked that high electricity and heating bills are a form of regressive taxation, felt most keenly by the poor and often unnoticed by the rich. Greens anxious to accelerate the deployment of current-generation renewables through government subsidization seldom think of the costs that such policies pass on to poorer consumers. Germany’s manic pursuit of solar and wind energy has saddled its people with some of the highest electricity bills in Europe, and it’s inevitably those least equipped to cope with those new expenses that are most affected by them.On the flip side, here in the United States we’re seeing the welcome effects of burgeoning domestic energy supplies as producers, thanks to fracking, continue to churn out the hydrocarbons. That’s good news for businesses as well as households, and it’s especially beneficial for those Americans with tighter budgets. This winter we’ll be seeing yet another reason to hail shale.