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Heating bills should be lower this winter because the deep freeze that chilled much of the nation last year is unlikely to return. Last year, persistently low temperatures across the Midwest, South and East forced people to crank up the heat. The high demand jacked up the price of some fuels, especially propane. Heating bills soared.
This year, milder temperatures should reduce homeowners' fuel use, according to the Energy Department's annual prediction of winter heating costs. The price of propane and heating oil should be lower, helping those customers save even more. Lower energy costs give the economy a boost. This winter, some customers could see savings of nearly $800 on their heating bills, according to the EIA. Gasoline prices are expected to soon drop below $3 per gallon on average in up to 30 states. But it's probably not wise to spend those hoped-for savings just yet. Some of the conditions that helped bring record-cold temperatures to the middle of the country still exist, according to Matt Rodgers of Commodity Weather Group, which forecasts weather and heating demand for energy companies.
-- The Associated Press