Strong El Niño helps revoke U.S. winter heating direct and fuel prices

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Above-normal temperatures during a 2015-16 winter were a pivotal cause in obscure heating direct and winter fuel expenditures. Compared with a 2014-15 winter, propane and heating oil direct decreased by 16% and 45%, respectively, and residential electricity direct decreased by 6%. The 2015-16 winter deteriorate (October by March) was 15% warmer than final winter, driven in partial by one of a strongest El Niño events in decades.

Image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

El Niño is a large-scale warming eventuality that affects heat and flood patterns in a Pacific Ocean. It occurs each 3 to 5 years, and it is caused by warmer-than-normal sea temperatures in a east-central equatorial Pacific. El Niño events typically final 9 to 12 months. The 2015-16 El Niño was one of a 3 strongest on record, and contributed to a comfortable winter continue gifted in a United States.

Image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

In further to record-high winter temperatures shortening a direct for space heating, abounding healthy gas reserve and low wanton oil prices were vital factors in obscure heating fuel prices. Warm winter temperatures reduced a altogether series of U.S. heating grade days (HDD), a temperature-based dimensions reflecting a heating needs of buildings in a location. At a inhabitant level, a series of heating grade days was 18% reduce than a prior winter deteriorate and 12% reduce than a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s foresee in Sep 2015.

Image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Natural gas. Nearly half of all U.S. homes use healthy gas for space heating. Residential healthy gas prices during a winter of 2015-16 were about 5.6% reduce than in a prior winter. Throughout this past winter,natural gas inventories remained high. As of Apr 7, operative healthy gas in subterraneous storage increasing to 1,472 billion cubic feet, 69% aloft than a turn during a same time in 2015.

Heating oil. Prices for petroleum-based fuel have also been reduce since of descending wanton oil prices. Residential heating oil prices were about 29% reduce this winter compared with a prior winter. As a El Niño eventuality dissipates and direct increases, refinery heating oil prices are foresee to boost 18% by subsequent winter.

Propane. Residential propane prices remained comparatively prosaic during a winter season, averaging $1.98 per gallon. As of Apr 1, 2016, U.S. propane bonds were adult by 2.0 million barrels to 64.9 million barrels, 6.9 million barrels (11.9%) aloft than a year ago. On average, U.S. households paid 15% reduction for propane this winter compared with a prior winter. In a Midwest, that uses some-more propane than other regions, prices declined by some-more than 22% from a prior winter.

Electricity. Electricity prices change some-more solemnly than a prices of heating fuels since electricity rates in many areas of a nation are set regulating regulatory mechanisms with prolonged time lags. Residential electricity prices fell slightly, disappearing 0.5% from winter 2014-15 to winter 2015-16.

Image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Source: EIA