Posted October 6, 2015
Last month we connected he lowest pre-Labor Day gasoline prices in more than a decade with the global cost of crude oil, the main factor in prices at the pump. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) attributed crude prices, in part, with growth in global supply – due in no small part to increases in U.S. oil production. Abbreviated: Thanks, U.S. energy revolution.
Now comes EIA’s Winter Fuels Outlook, with forecasts that household heating costs will be lower than the previous two winters. Thanks again, U.S. energy.
Some EIA charts, starting with this one showing heating degree days and average household costs for fuels:
EIA says the average household heated with natural gas will spend $578 this winter or $64 less than last winter’s average. Homes primarily using propane will spend $1,437 this winter or $322 less than last winter, EIA predicts. The agency also projects savings for households using heating oil and electricity. This chart shows the distribution of fuels used for primary-space heating in the U.S.:
There are a number of factors that go into EIA’s forecast, including the expectation that this winter will be warmer than last year. But the affordability of petroleum products – as well as the increasing use of natural gas in power generation – also is key. EIA’s chart, showing average household natural gas use and expenditures:
America’s energy revolution has a number of benefits – boosting the economy and strengthening American energy security. But it also is helping individual Americans and their families.
So, after recognizing that surging domestic energy production in the United States mostly stems from entrepreneurial risk-taking, technological innovation and private investment, Americans should encourage policymakers to adopt energy strategies that sustain and grow safe and responsible production: increased access to oil and natural gas reserves, commonsense regulation and efficient, fair leasing and permitting policies. All would help encourage more production and benefits. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:
“We got to this era of energy abundance and global energy leadership because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector, the hard work of the American worker and the unique system of private property and individual rights of the American marketplace. To continue this progress we should be mindful that these advances could easily be stalled or even reversed without forward-looking energy policies that encourage safe and responsible domestic energy development and production, that support a robust refining sector, and embrace our nation’s bright energy future.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.