The EIA expects household space-heating bills will be 8% lower than a year ago, according to the agency’s “October Short-Term Energy Outlook.” The average household will spend $960 for home heating in the October through March winter heating, $84 less than last year, says EIA.
"The lower bills primarily reflect lower fuel prices, although slightly milder weather than last winter will also contribute to less fuel use in many areas. We expect the largest decreases in fuel expenses in households using natural gas and propane," said EIA Administrator Richard Newell.
EIA expects the lower-48 States to be 1%warmer during the October through March winter heating season compared with last winter and 1% milder than the 30-year average (1971-2000), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most recent projections of heating degree-days. Regional heating degree-day projections vary widely.
Other highlights of the outlook include:
EIA projects natural gas inventories to set a new record high at the end of this year's gas injection season (October 31), reaching more than 3.8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf).
EIA expects the Henry Hub spot price to average $4.31 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) this winter, down from $5.66 per Mcf last winter. The annual average spot price increases from $3.85 per Mcf in 2009 to $5.02 in 2010 with improving economic conditions.
EIA expects the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to average about $70 per barrel this winter (October-March), a $19 increase compared with last winter. The forecast for average WTI prices rises gradually to about $75 per barrel by December 2010 as U.S. and world economic conditions improve.