While you might be relieved to see prices at the pump drop in recent weeks, your energy-cost euphoria will likely be short-lived.
Not to be a bummer, but home-heating bills are expected to soar during the 2008-2009 heating season, which runs from October 1 to March 31. The average American household will pay $1,182, up 19.8 percent from last year, according to the Energy Information Administration. That's a 65 percent increase from 2003-2004, says the EIA. (All figures here are from the EIA, which revises them every month. You'll find updated information on the EIA site.) It's no wonder one of the most common searches on ConsumerReports.org is for wood- and pellet-burning stoves.
Some regions will be harder hit than others:
People who live in the Northeast and heat with oil are facing the biggest price increase—they'll pay on average $2,725 this winter, up 37.1 percent over 2007-2008. The national average price for heating with oil has grown more than 198 percent from 2003-2004 to 2008-2009.
Southerners who heat with propane will pay on average $1,578, an 18.7 percent increase over 2003-2004. The national average price for heating with propane has soared just over 100 percent from 2003-2004 to 2008-2009.
Residents of the West who heat with gas will pay on average $684, the lowest regional cost in the country. Nonetheless, that's a 23.8 percent increase, even with the stepped-up production of natural gas. The national average price for heating with natural gas has climbed almost 61 percent from 2003-2004 to 2008-2009.
And Midwesterners who heat with electricity will see the smallest hike. It will cost them on average $1,051 to heat their homes, a 4.7 percent climb. The national average price for heating with electricity is up almost 34 percent from 2003-2004 to 2008-2009.
Regardless of where you live or what type of fuel you use, get your heating system checked before the cold weather comes. It's also a good idea to insulate the attic, install a programmable thermostat, and seal leaks and cracks throughout your home. Read more about keeping your energy costs down in "Heating: Stay Warm Without Getting Fleeced."—Daniel DiClerico
Essential information: Learn more about energy efficiency by reading our "Save Energy, Save Money" feature in the October 2008 Consumer Reports. The issue also contains a review of tankless water heaters, an update on our testing of compact fluorescent lightbulbs, and an investigative piece on the federal government's Energy Star program. Finally, learn about heating safety.
This entire natural gas hike is BS there is no reason to hook people every year. There is no gas shortage this year !!!!!! in fact production is up and price is down according to the US Govt.
not very helpful. why don't you tell me 1:the actual price of a gallon of heating oil and 2: why its going up so much when oil per barrel is dropping like a rock.
I would like to know how much it costs on average to heat with propane in the midwest. In the St Louis area many people use this fuel.
In an 1800 square foot house I own, 269 gallons of gas was used in Dec 2008 and the cost was $505.00. By the time winter is over I don't know what the final cost will be.
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