Ah, just in time for Christmas: winter heating bills going through the metaphorical roof.
Especially here in the Midwest.
With prices surging worldwide for heating oil, natural gas and other fuels, the U.S. government said Wednesday it expects households to see their heating bills jump as much as 54% compared to last winter.
Nearly half the homes in the U.S. use natural gas for heat, and they could pay an average $746 this winter, 30% more than a year ago. Those in the Midwest could get particularly pinched, with bills up an estimated 49%, and this could be the most expensive winter for natural-gas heated homes since 2008-2009.
The second-most used heating source for homes is electricity, making up 41% of the country, and those households could see a more modest 6% increase to $1,268. Homes using heating oil, which make up 4% of the country, could see a 43% increase — more than $500 — to $1,734. The sharpest increases are likely for homes that use propane, which account for 5% of U.S. households.
This last is critical, as propane is essential for the invisible rural poor--certainly in northern Michigan. And because the rural poor do not register at all in the national consciousness, there are looming threats to the propane supply courtesy of the State government. However, Justin Trudeau (!) may be able to rescue rural Michiganders.
Just another reason I'm glad my propane-reliant parents winter in an Arizona camper and not in the Great Lakes State.