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Forecast: Winter Heating Costs Steady

Thanks to the recession, Massachusetts residents should not see any major increases in the price of heating their homes this winter.

The U.S. Department of Energy has released its home heating forecast. New Englanders who burn natural gas are supposed to end up paying 13 percent less than last winter.

But for those who burn home heating oil, costs should run three percent more. Heating oil is more closely tied to imports and is therefore affected by the strength of the dollar, which has been getting weaker.

The fuel forecast projects demand based on economic activity. Jim Townsend, CEO of Townsend Oil and Propane in Danvers, says demand for both fuels has been increasing as the economy starts to recover.

"But we haven’t fully rebounded in terms of going into a robust economy," he says. "So it’s going to be fairly stable for heating oil prices."

That’s barring any major events or supply disruptions that could cause prices to rise. The federal government forecast is also based on projections of a slightly warmer winter than last year.

This program aired on November 16, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Curt Nickisch Twitter Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.

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