For the almost half of U.S. homeowners who use natural gas to heat their homes, costs this winter will increase 29%, according to the Energy Information Administration. Electric heating costs will increase 5%, EIA found in its “Winter Fuels Outlook,” while propane users should brace themselves for a 39% increase.
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That’s the baseline scenario EIA came up with. If winter is 10% warmer than forecast, homeowners might only see increases of 23% for natural gas, 17% for propane and 3% for electricity. A 10% colder winter, though, could drive costs up 45% for natural gas, 75% for propane and 14% for electricity.
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Even with those increases, natural gas users will still pay less overall, at $746 this season on average, compared to $1,268 for electricity users. Only about 5% of U.S. homeowners use propane as their primary heating fuel, with a strong regional influence. Homeowners in the South, Northeast and Midwest will pay between $1,643 and $2,012 for propane this season. The outlook did not include a dollar estimate for propane costs in the Mountain region.