Pretty much everything else in the U.S. supply chain has increased in price, so it should come as no surprise that experts say you can expect to pay higher bills for heating this winter! But they are talking about a lot higher!

This winter, by the way, is predicted to be slightly colder than last year, which translates to burning more fuel to keep warm. Wednesday, The U.S. government said it expects households to see their heating bills jump as much as 54% compared to last winter.

It is predicted that this could be the most expensive winter for natural-gas heated homes since 2008-2009. Nearly half of U.S. homes use natural gas for heat, and after totaling the cost for this winter's months, the cost could translate to paying an average of $746 for your natural-gas this winter, or around 30% more than a year ago. Some areas of the U.S. could get hit with bills up an estimated 49%.

The second-most used heating source for homes is electricity, making up 41% of the country, and those households could see a more modest 6% increase to $1,268. Homes using heating oil, which make up 4% of the country, could see a 43% increase — more than $500 — to $1,734. The sharpest increases are likely for homes that use propane, which account for 5% of U.S. households.

In talking about the rising cost of heating fuel, Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association said...“This is going to create significant hardship for people in the bottom third of the country. You can tell them to cut back and try to turn down the heat at night, but many low-income families already do that. Energy was already unaffordable to them.”

Congress apportions some money to energy assistance programs for low-income households, but directors of those programs are now watching their purchasing power shrink as fuel costs keep climbing, Wolfe said.

The biggest reason for this winter’s higher heating bills is the recent surge in prices for energy commodities after they dropped to multi-year lows in 2020. Demand has simply grown faster than production as the economy roars back to life following shutdowns caused by the coronavirus.

Natural gas in the United States has climbed to its highest price since 2014 and is up roughly 90% over the last year. The wholesale price of heating oil, meanwhile, has more than doubled in the last 12 months.

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