How A Strong ​​El Niño Winter Could Affect VA Home Heating Costs

Georgia — Virginians who heat their homes with natural gas could anticipate paying less this winter than last, according to a new federal winter fuels prediction provided on Wednesday.

According to a study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, natural gas prices have dropped by around 40% from this time last year. Prices for propane and electricity are predicted to stay steady, but those who use heating oil—which is widely used in the Northeast—should expect to spend more.

One out of every three houses in Virginia, along with the nearly 60.1 million households nationwide who use natural gas as their main source of healing fuel, will likely pay an average of $601 for heating their homes this winter. According to the EIA, that is a decrease of almost 21% over the previous winter.

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Natural gas users in the South, which includes Virginia, could anticipate paying, on average, $494 to heat their homes from November to March—a 15% decrease from the previous winter.

Additionally, estimates for the South indicate that throughout the five-month period, power rates will rise by 2 percent, or $1,001 on average. Over the winter, propane prices are predicted to rise by 6%, or $1,184 on average.

Weather conditions also have an impact on the prediction, which is governed by supply and demand for winter heating fuels and stockpiles. A strong El Niño climate trend may bring more snow to certain regions of the nation but may also keep temperatures mild, according to several winter weather outlooks.

This winter, heating oil prices are expected to increase by 8%, with an average cost of $1,851 throughout the country.

For those in the western United States, whose winter temperatures are predicted to be warmer than typical this year compared to last, when they were significantly colder than usual, the El Niño influence is excellent news. It should cost them less in total, whichever fuel type they use.

Although the usual demand for heating fuels is higher than supply, the Energy Information Administration said that as winter approached, gas and propane stockpiles were both above five-year averages. Distillate fuel inventories, which include heating oil, were, however, "well below" normal.

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