“Utilities and industry analysts estimate it will cost families 30% to 50% more to heat their homes with natural gas this winter,” the Wall Street Journal reports (18 July 2008). Worse: Families using heating oil — such as in New England — could face increases of 50% to 100%. People may end up paying $5 a gallon for heating oil this winter, a 72% increase over last year’s price, according to the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island.
It’s no longer just a problem for the elderly and poor; this time it will be a middle-class phenomenon, too. A colleague of mine (located in New Hampshire) says many New Englanders are just scraping by, paycheck to paycheck, and can’t afford the oil price hikes. They’ll resort to using kerosene space heaters, in unsafe ways. As a result, “some people will die this winter,” he predicts.
Heating oil sticker shock to hit New England