Heating bills, oil price rise predicted

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

USA — A US government report was issued Wednesday predicting the rise of heating bills due to colder temperatures and impacts Hurricanes Rita and Katrina had on the nation's energy production.

Local forecasters predict that most of the US will have a warmer-than-expected winter this year. However, households that heat their homes by gas can expect to pay 29.8% more in heating bills. In the case of colder-than-expected weather, an increase of 66% in household heating costs is likely. In typical weather, prices will rise about 47.6%. Households that use electricity can expect a rise of about 5% from last year. NOAA's 2005-2006 U.S. Winter Outlook calls for warmer-than-normal temperatures across much of the central and western United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. The Midwest, the Southern Californian coast and the East Coast have equal chances of warmer, cooler or near-normal temperatures this winter.

Around one third of the US crude oil and one fifth of the natural gas outputs in Mexico still remain closed due to hurricane-related damage. Seven oil refineries remain offline.

The Energy Information Administration predicts that the price of oil will rise to around $64 per barrel (42 gallons or 158.97 litres) in 2006, with $58 being the average for this year.

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