Oil and gas prices have been steadily rising in recent months, and many believe that the trend will continue into the winter months. If this happens, you’ll likely pay more to heat your home in the coming year, but there are several things you can do to keep costs down and protect yourself from adverse economic effects in general. Find out more about how oil and gas prices could affect you when it comes time to pay your heating bill this year.
Oil Prices are Rising
As of December 2013, oil prices have risen from about $100 per barrel to nearly $120 per barrel. While that may not seem like a big jump, it’s been enough to push up gas prices by about 20 cents per gallon. In addition, natural gas is rising as well. This doesn’t mean you should stop heating your home, but it does mean that your utility bills could be going up faster than they have in years past. If it’s been a while since you’ve analyzed your current energy usage habits, now might be a good time to revisit those numbers! Keeping a watchful eye on how much energy you’re using can help ensure that rising oil and gas costs don’t catch you off guard.
What does this mean for me
The price of oil isn’t going anywhere—and neither is its effect on how much we pay for electricity. Oil and natural gas are used to generate almost two-thirds of our nation’s electricity, from large fossil fuel power plants to those tiny rooftop solar panels. But those energy sources don’t come cheap, which means they make up a huge chunk of your utility bill every month. In fact, over half of what consumers pay for electricity can be traced back to oil or natural gas. If those expenses go up again (like last winter when one gallon of gasoline cost $3 per gallon), it can mean another big hike in your monthly electric bill…
Should I used price comparison sites?
As oil and gas prices start to rise, home owners will be tempted to use price comparison sites. But while these online tools can help you find competitive rates on everything from credit cards to mortgages, they may not always be able to save you money on oil or natural gas. While some suppliers that partner with comparison services offer attractive discounts, others still charge what they wish without any caps at all. If your utility company hasn’t offered you a lower rate through its program—or if it hasn’t told you about one in the first place—it’s important to know that price-comparison sites may not be able to help much at all.
Should I retrofit my home with insulation?
If oil and gas prices continue to rise, it’s possible that your heating bill could go up as well. Retrofitting your home with insulation can help reduce heating costs in winter by increasing energy efficiency. If you have access to natural sunlight through windows, consider using energy-efficient windows to reduce your winter energy use even more. If you don’t have direct sunlight coming into your home during fall/winter, consider investing in a wood stove for both warmth and cooking. Wood stoves are less expensive than traditional furnaces or baseboard heaters—and of course they’re also cheaper than oil or gas!