Image in modal.

American consumers will pay at least $13.6 billion more for energy this winter as prices for gasoline, natural gas, and propane surge due to poorly conceived energy policies, rising inflation, and a political environment that discourages investment in energy production and infrastructure, according to analysis by Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), the leading energy and environmental advocate for families and businesses.

Heat or Eat: Skyrocketing Energy Prices to Cost Consumers at Least $13.6 Billion This Winter,” analyzes data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Winter Fuels Outlook to establish a total overall cost forecast for American families. EIA forecast a slightly colder winter this year that would lead to 30% increases in natural gas prices, 54% spikes for propane, and a 43% surge in heating oil prices during the October-March winter heating season.

This price increase comes against a U.S. Census Bureau finding in August that nearly one-third of Americans have had to forgo or cut back on basic household necessities, like food or medicine, to pay their energy bills, a reality many living in poverty or on fixed incomes must deal with on a monthly basis.

“The energy policy choices the federal government made in 2021, including hobbling U.S. energy production, killing the Keystone Pipeline, and impeding construction of much-needed energy infrastructure, has left American consumers exposed with a long winter coming,” said David Holt, president, CEA. “Energy markets swing up and down, but nations with abundant and diverse energy resources, like the U.S., can weather them and protect their vulnerable populations if they reduce dependence on foreign energy. Unfortunately, we are back to begging OPEC.

“Inflation is rising so much that bacon prices have doubled, gasoline prices are nearly $8 a gallon in some places, and oil is over $80 a barrel,” continued Holt. “It’s unconscionable that we are still considering policies to make energy even scarcer here at home when we can produce enough to send strong signals to global prices and when we have so many in dire financial straits. The holiday season is already expected to be expensive because of global supply chain problems, and now this.

“We hope our elected leaders when they go to the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Glasgow, remember that we can meet our shared global climate and environmental goals at the same time as we protect citizens against unnecessarily high energy costs or electricity blackouts,” Holt said. “They need only look around at the energy crisis the United Kingdom is facing to see what that will mean for Americans if they follow the same path — a long, cold, costly winter.

Prices across all fuels and all regions in the forecast are higher compared with recent winters. Image courtesy of the Energy Information Administration.

“American leadership is already showing that we can meet or exceed emission reduction goals while producing more energy — when we are allowed to do so,” he continued. “America is already the world’s leader in CO2 emission reduction, while 52% of the Earth’s urban carbon emissions come from just 25 cities in China, Russia, and Japan. 

“We need practical solutions to make our environment healthier and ensure our energy supplies stay robust, such as rebuilding our supply chains by allowing the mining necessary to support America’s clean energy economy; unfreezing access to natural gas resources managed by the federal government; and allowing for the infrastructure necessary to ensure reliable, affordable transmission of energy while putting America’s unions back to work,” Holt said.

To read the full analysis, click here.