EIA: Heating Costs to Soar This Winter

October 19, 2005

The energy industry's continued recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, tight global supplies of oil, and a colder winter than last year's will drive up heating costs significantly this winter, according to DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). On average, households heated with natural gas will spend about 48 percent more this winter on their heating bills, while households using heating oil will pay 32 percent more, those heating with propane will pay 30 percent more, and those heating with electricity will pay about 5 percent more. Meanwhile, crude oil prices are expected to average nearly $65 per barrel through 2006, keeping retail prices for regular unleaded gasoline at about $2.45 per gallon. See the EIA press release and the Short Term Energy Outlook.

In light of the tight energy supplies and projected energy costs, DOE kicked off the "Easy Ways to Save Energy" campaign on October 3rd. Since then, top DOE officials have visited Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Ohio to spread the word. See the recent DOE press releases.

Meanwhile, recovery efforts are proceeding in the Gulf Coast region, with only 65 percent of oil production and 53 percent of natural gas production shut-in in the Gulf of Mexico as of October 18th, according to the Minerals Management Service (MMS). DOE reports that all but one of the affected refineries are now operating, restarting, or trying to restart. The latest DOE status reports also tally the offshore infrastructure damage from the hurricanes and provide detailed information about natural gas pipelines. See the MMS and DOE reports.