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Your energy bill is about to get more expensive. On April 18, U.S. natural gas prices jumped to their highest level since September 2008, topping out around $8.07. Prices have dropped a bit since then, but they closed on Tuesday at a level well above the norm for the last decade.
That’s tough news for consumers. About half of homes in the U.S. use natural gas for space and water heating, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). With inflation at a 40-year high, surging natural gas prices are yet another blow for consumers.
Here’s why natural gas prices are rising—and how you can get relief.
Why Are Natural Gas Prices Rising?
There are three culprits behind rising natural gas prices: Geopolitics, a bout of unexpectedly cool U.S. weather in early spring and inflation.
The geopolitical problem is pretty clear: Since Russia invaded Ukraine, drawing sanctions on Russian oil and natural gas exports, prices have spiked.
Europe is heavily dependent on Russian gas, and it’s looking elsewhere for suppliers, including the U.S. In late March, the White House announced it would increase natural gas shipments to Europe to help wean the continent off Russian energy—but this crunches the global energy supply.
In addition to external demand, the U.S. is dealing with increased demand at home. A late winter storm is expected to hit the northeastern U.S. this week, with as much as two feet of snow expected in some areas. The freezing temperatures will result in homes cranking up the heat and increased demand for gas compared to more typical, warmer April weather.
Inflation is making nearly everything more expensive and U.S. energy costs are no exception. Natural gas prices have increased 21.6% over the last year, according to the most recent consumer price index (CPI) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And that figure doesn’t even include the most recent surge in prices seen this month. A sharp increase in demand as the economy recovered from Covid-19 has accounted for much of the price surge.
How to Save Money on Your Energy Bill
If your home runs on natural gas, then an increase in your energy bill won’t be welcome news. Consider these tips to save money on your energy bill.
1. Install a programmable thermostat
Technology can be a great asset, especially when making your home more energy-efficient. Deane Biermeier, who has been a contractor for more than three decades and is a contributor …….