Americans should expect to pay higher heating costs this winter, Energy Secretary says

ByChandelis Duster and Jason Hoffman, CNN, CNNWire
Monday, November 8, 2021
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Americans should expect to pay higher costs to heat their homes this winter, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Sunday, a result of high gas prices caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"This is going to happen. It will be -- it will be more expensive this year than last year," Granholm told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union." "We are in a slightly beneficial position, well certainly relative to Europe, because their choke hold of natural gas is very significant. ... But we have the same problem in fuels that the supply chains have, which is that the oil and gas companies are not flipping the switch as quickly as the demand requires."

Granholm's comments come one day after President Joe Biden was noncommittal on using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to address rising gas prices, but Granholm said the administration feels all options are on the table. A release from the SPR, which is designed to protect the nation against a major disruption in oil supplies, may only provide modest, temporary relief from higher prices at the pump.

She also told Bash that Biden is focused on both "immediate-term and the long-term" solutions, including investing in clean energy that he hopes will alleviate the issue.

Natural gas futures have risen to 132% so far this year and industry experts have warned it, along with retail prices, could go higher if it's a very cold winter, causing Americans to use more heat. US households that rely on natural gas for heating could spend an average of $746 to heat their homes this winter, up 30% from last winter, according to the Energy Information Administration. Retail natural gas prices are expected to hit the highest levels since the winter of 2005-2006.

Households are expected to spend 54% more for propane, 43% more for home heating oil, 30% more for natural gas and 6% more for electric heating compared to a last winter, according to a report from the EIA released last month.

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