10/12/2005

Natural Gas Users to Take Hit This Winter - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON - Winter heating bills will be a third to a half higher for most families across the country, with the sharpest increases expected for those who heat with natural gas, the Energy Department forecast Wednesday.

The department said natural gas users can expect to pay an average of $350 more during the upcoming winter compared to last year, an increase of 48 percent. Those who heat their homes with fuel oil will pay $378 more, or 32 percent higher than last winter.

Propane users can expect a percentage jump in their bills similar to those of fuel oil users.

In its winter fuels outlooks report, DOE's Energy Information Administration assumed a normal winter and steady progress in restoring oil and natural gas production and refinery output from the damage inflicted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"Should colder weather prevail, expenditures will be significantly higher," the EIA said.

The agency as well as the natural gas industry said that heating costs could vary widely among regions.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration offered a bit of cheer Wednesday morning, issuing a long-range winter forecast calling for warmer than normal temperatures in much of the Midwest and Pacific Northwest.

Natural Gas Users to Take Hit This Winter - Yahoo! News

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