Keeping Track: natural-gas costs

Prices may not dip until late this year

Average US households using natural gas will notice a 70 percent increase in their heating bills this winter, predict economists at the Washington-based Energy Information Administration.

Prices this quarter are running at $9.95 per thousand cubic feet, which means a typical Midwest family will pay $927 over the six coldest months this winter to heat their home. That compares with $540 last year. Natural-gas prices have soared, an EIA spokesman says, because increasing demand has led to supply shortages. Economists say prices are projected to hit $10.94 per thousand cubic feet before they start dropping.

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