( Reuters ) - U.S. consumers will pay 10 percent more to warm their homes this winter, with the seasonal cost for all heating fuels averaging $997, or $88 more, than last year, the government said on Tuesday.
Heating oil will be the most expensive fuel, followed by propane, natural gas and electricity, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its annual winter forecast, which runs from October 1 through March 31.
Government weather experts say this winter will be colder than last year's, but warmer than the average winter over the last 30 years.
"Because of expected colder weather, U.S. heating fuel consumption is projected to increase compared with last winter," the EIA said.
Heating oil expenditures in the Northeast, the biggest U.S. heating oil market where a third of households use the fuel, will be up 22 percent, or $328, to $1,827, the Energy Department's analytical arm said.
Higher crude oil prices will help push residential heating oil prices to a nationwide average of $2.88 a gallon compared to $2.48 last winter.
Propane users -- located mainly in rural areas -- will pay $1,570, up $221, or 16 percent, from last year. Propane will cost $2.28 a gallon, 26 cents more than last winter.
Households that rely on natural gas will pay almost 10 percent more this winter, up $78 to an average $891 in total expenditures.