We love autumn. We pull out our flannel shirts and our fall boots, take our children apple picking, and eat an excess of pumpkin-flavored treats. But this year, along with the crisp cool air will come something not so sweet: record-high prices to heat our homes.
Under the Biden administration, costs for natural gas, the most common source for heating homes, have spiked.
“If your heating bill was $150 last year, it may be $300 this year,” Tom Kloza, OPIS Energy founder and analysis global head, told Fox Business. Some experts predict that number will triple — $450 each month to heat a home that last year cost $150.
This isn’t a few extra dollars that families have to spend on bacon, cereal, or diapers at the grocery store. While the 13-year high on inflation was enough to raise prices at Dollar Tree, the increase in home heating energy costs could amount to thousands of dollars for the fall and winter months.
The speed at which the United States went from being energy independent and the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas in the world to facing an impending energy crisis is extraordinary.
In 2019, under former President Donald Trump, the U.S. became energy independent for the first time in 62 years, meaning we produced more energy than we consumed and exported more than we imported. The Trump administration achieved this partly by streamlining regulations that hindered pipelines and natural gas development on federal lands.
While technically promising not to ban fracking, President Joe Biden placed moratoriums (lifted months later) on oil and gas leases on federal lands and made it harder and more expensive to develop and produce natural gas by halting or slowing down the process. Then, once gas is produced, it needs to be transported. The Biden administration and Democrats have a track record of overregulating pipelines and killing them altogether.
The implications of the president’s energy policies have reached across the Atlantic, where European countries are already facing their own energy crisis. After phasing out emission-free nuclear power plants in some countries and increasing reliance on less-reliable renewable energy sources as part of their ambitious climate goals, some European countries are finding out what many warned: They will need to back up renewable power with natural gas when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. European nations are now facing a dangerous gas shortage and depleted stocks ahead of the cold winter months.
While the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme weather events are major factors in Europe’s 500% increase in energy prices, Biden’s policies haven’t helped. In May, Biden reversed Trump-era sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, enabling the project to move forward and empowering Russia to take over the EU energy market.
Now, instead of relying on the U.S. to meet their natural gas demand, European nations are looking to Russia, which has a track record of manipulating energy costs for its political benefits and releasing more emissions than natural gas produced in the U.S. Of course, this also means Russia — an aggressive, corrupt, authoritarian human rights disaster — has greater geopolitical power thanks to Biden.
These woes at home and abroad have all contributed to the global cost of natural gas soaring to a seven-year high, even before the cold winter months hit. Now, the U.S. can’t produce and transport enough for ourselves, let alone to export to our friends. The need to rely on other countries to meet U.S. demand is a failure after we experienced an excess in supply under Trump.
It’s bad for the economy, bad for the environment, bad for national security, and bad for society. About half of U.S. households rely on natural gas to heat their homes and water. This winter, with so many people still working remotely, they’ll be using even more.
While not a tax in the traditional sense, the implications of rising home heating costs will challenge Biden’s promise not to raise taxes on families making below $400,000. In a regressive fashion, middle- and low-income families will feel the effects of rising energy costs most.
Wealthy families will be comfortably insulated inside their warm homes, facing sticker shock but writing checks and thinking nothing more. Meanwhile, the rest of the U.S. will be left rationing because hot water and a warm home are not something they can live without.
To avert this impending crisis, Biden must look beyond tomorrow’s headlines and act now. With the leaves already turning, a cold, expensive winter is coming.