Natural Gas The Fuel Of Choice In Colder Regions
Just as temperatures are beginning to drop across the country, natural gas consumption is on the rise. However, the trend does not extend to all regions. Rather, it is centered most notably in the coldest parts of the country, namely the Midwest and Northeast.
Current consumption projections do remain lower than they were last year, due to a number of factors. Once again, the East North Central area looks to be the nation’s leader in natural gas heating. Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio made up 28% of all residential natural gas consumption in 2013. This is partly due to the extreme cold weather experienced in these natural gas-intensive states during last Winter. Additionally, increased consumption can be attributed to secondary heating sources, such a natural gas-powered fireplaces. Finally, natural gas is also used when temperatures fall below freezing, requiring heat pumps to rely on it as a supplemental heating source.
Because of last Winter’s abnormally cold temperatures, utilities began buying natural gas earlier than expected, which has contributed to some energy outlook projections pegging prices higher than they were at the same time 12 months ago. However, because temperatures are not projected to dip as low as they did in 2013, consumers should not see the increase in price reflected in their heating bills, owing to most likely lower consumption.