Some Good News for Consumers on Heating Costs: The Kiplinger Letter

Most (but not all) heating costs should be cheaper this year compared to 2022.

To help you understand what we expect to happen when it comes to energy and home heating trends, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

As winter nears, it looks like most heating fuels should be a bit cheaper at the start of the season than they were a year ago, when the supply issues resulting from Russia’s attack on Ukraine caused significant spikes in energy prices.

Supplies of natural gas should be abundant when the weather turns cold, which is good news since roughly half of U.S. homes are heated with gas. Gas stockpiles are modestly higher than normal for this time of year. Autumn temperature outlooks suggest milder-than-normal weather across much of the country. If that comes to pass, gas supplies should build up further, helping to hold prices down for most consumers. On average, gas users paid about 17% less for natural gas in August than they did a year earlier. 

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The story is similar for propane. With ample supplies in storage, a mild autumn would let those stocks build up further before they are drawn down during winter. Spot propane prices are down about 25% from this time a year ago, so retail users should see at least a bit of a break this fall, relative to the prices they paid last fall. 

Heating oil supplies aren’t so robust. Prices are down from a year ago. But, they’re on the rise, driven by a run-up in chemically similar diesel fuel. A cold winter and continued tightness in diesel supplies could cause a sizable jump in heating oil.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Jim Patterson
Managing Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Jim joined Kiplinger in December 2010, covering energy and commodities markets, autos, environment and sports business for The Kiplinger Letter. He is now the managing editor of The Kiplinger Letter and The Kiplinger Tax Letter. He also frequently appears on radio and podcasts to discuss the outlook for gasoline prices and new car technologies. Prior to joining Kiplinger, he covered federal grant funding and congressional appropriations for Thompson Publishing Group, writing for a range of print and online publications. He holds a BA in history from the University of Rochester.