EIA: Upward Creep in Cost of Energy

It doesn’t matter if it’s at the pump or the thermostat. U.S. households can expect to dig a little deeper in their pockets this year to pay for the rising cost of energy.

U.S. households will be paying more for energy in the next year, government analysts say. (Photo By: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

U.S. households will be paying more for energy in the next year, government analysts say. (Photo By: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

After a period of stable prices, regular unleaded gas will jump by 11.2 percent and retail electricity prices by 2.6 percent in 2017, the Energy Information Administration said April 11 in its Short-Term Energy Outlook.

The primary culprits? A hike in the price of crude oil and a slight hike in the cost of natural gas, which will run barely ahead of coal as a fuel for power, EIA said.

The result? The average household will spend about $200 more on motor fuels in 2017 than it did in 2016, and another $50 on residential electricity, though those totals will vary widely from region to region.

For 2017, EIA forecast the average price for regular gasoline at $2.39 a gallon, up from $2.15 a gallon a year ago. Part of that hike will occur in the coming months.

"For the 2017 April-through-September summer driving season, U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.46/gallon, compared with $2.23/gal last summer," the agency reported.

The rise in electricity prices is less dramatic, though it is powered by a projected boost of more than 37 percent in the spot price of natural gas, from $2.60 per million Btu in 2016 to $3.57 per million Btu in 2018.

Average U.S. retail residential electricity prices are projected to increase to 12.87 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2017 from 12.55 cents per kwh in 2016. EIA sees them further increasing to 13.18 cents per kwh in 2018.

The Middle Atlantic region—defined as New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey—is in line for the largest jump in residential electricity prices in 2017. EIA sees prices increasing to 16.39 cents per kwh from 15.76 cents per kwh in 2016.

That's about $75 more a year for a household that uses an average of 1,000 kwh per month.

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