By Jan White
For many Texans, the new year ushered in a wave of colder weather and, with it, the burden of increased pricing for heating sources like natural gas.
Data released in early December of 2021 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a rise in inflation, with consumer prices in November increasing 6.8% over the previous year. And the cost of utility gas service was 25.1% higher in November than it was one year ago.
With the pandemic came increased instability in supply and demand for energy. As a result of supply lagging behind demand, consumers face energy prices up 33.3% over the 2020 levels. In 2021, residential natural gas prices spiked to levels not seen since 2008.
Using the most recent full year of data available, an analysis by Commodity.com ranked the cost (dollars per million BTU) of average residential gas prices per state in 2020. From the most expensive to the least expensive, Texas ranked 21 out of the 50 states. On average, Texans paid $11.22 per million BTU, compared to $10.40 at the national level. Hawaii ranked #1 as most costly, paying $36.40, while Idaho paid the least, at $6.49 per million BTU.
In parts of the U.S. where natural gas prices are high, including the South and Northeast, natural gas consumption per capita tends to be much lower. It is anticipated that these current elevated prices could lead utilities and consumers to find more efficient and affordable energy sources, especially in those areas where natural gas is already expensive.