Study predicts which states will see the highest heating bills this winter


(NEXSTAR) – Inflation may be easing, but households are bracing for at least one monthly bill to go up next month. The Energy Information Administration estimates the average natural gas heating bill will go up 28% this winter when compared to last winter.

About half of homes nationally rely on natural gas for heating, according to U.S. Census data. While the U.S. doesn’t rely heavily on natural gas imports, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has still been affecting prices here at home because American natural gas producers have been exporting so much of their production to Europe, reports NPR.

“If the price they can get in Europe is a lot more than what they can sell their natural gas for in the U.S., then some of that is going to be exported to Europe, and that is going to raise the price of things in the United States,” Ellen Wald, oil and gas expert with the Atlantic Council, told NPR.

MoneyGeek, a personal finance website, analyzed Energy Information Administration (EIA) data to determine where heating bills are expected to rise the most.

Believe it or not, the state with the highest heating bill isn’t Alaska. The frigid, snowy state comes it at No. 2, but Oklahoma takes the top spot with an average projected natural gas bill of $301 per month.

Despite being a big producer of natural gas, Oklahoma has still ended up in a tight position. An energy crisis last year forced them to buy extra fuel at 600 times the normal price, reported Oklahoma Watch. This year, the EIA expects natural gas consumption in the state to be even higher. “While we’re not sure if this will become a long-term pattern, that, plus a projected 15% increase in price this winter is sort of a perfect storm for Oklahoma, leading them to have the highest monthly bill,” a MoneyGeek analyst told Nexstar.

Midwestern states may not have the biggest bills overall, but they are seeing the biggest increases, according to MoneyGeek’s analysis. States in the region are expected to see their natural gas bills up about 33% this year.

Generally, states that rely more on natural gas as a heating source are expected to see the biggest spikes.

See the 20 states predicted to have the highest bills, and their households’ monthly average natural gas cost, below:

Rank State Monthly gas bill (2022-23) Increase from last year
1 Oklahoma $301 $56
2 Alaska $289 $65
3 Georgia $280 $52
4 Maryland $278 $52
5 Illinois $210 $52
6 New York $206 $37
7 Delaware $202 $38
8 Arkansas $202 $38
9 Rhode Island $201 $36
10 West Virginia $200 $37
11 Virginia $188 $35
12 Kentucky $185 $35
13 Michigan $184 $46
14 Massachusetts $171 $30
15 Wyoming $167 $38
16 Utah $161 $36
17 Ohio $160 $40
18 Colorado $155 $35
19 Minnesota $154 $39
20 North Carolina $151 $28

The state with the lowest projected natural gas bill this winter is no surprise: Hawaiians’ average natural monthly bill will be around $12. Following Hawaii is Maine, then Florida, New Hampshire, Arizona and Vermont – each with a bill under $50.

While Arizona and Hawaii aren’t surprising to find at the bottom of the list, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont aren’t exactly tropical, warm environments. How are the gas bills so low? Residents in those states rely far less on natural gas to heat their homes, according to the Census. All three use fuel oil as the leading source of heat energy, according to the EIA, but they also rely on wood burning, propane and some electricity.

(See where every state ranks in the full dataset.)

To save on your heating bill, the Department of Energy suggests turning down your thermostat to as low as you’re comfortable, keeping curtains open when the sun is out, and upgrading to efficient home appliances.

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