Prices for natural gas are likely to average $4.44 per million British thermal units this year and $4.14 in 2015, the EIA said. That compares to the previous estimates of $4.17 and $4.11, respectively.
The government agency also said that the cold weather this winter had the “greatest effect” on propane prices, especially for consumers in the Midwest. It’s forecasting that Midwest propane prices will average $2.62 a gallon this winter, up 51% from last winter. In its February report, the EIA was expecting an average of $2.41 a gallon, which would’ve been 39% higher than last winter. For consumers in the Northeast, it forecast average prices of $3.47 a gallon, which would be 15% higher than last winter.
Heating-oil prices are likely to average $3.83 a gallon this winter – about 4 cents a gallon, or 1%, lower than last year’s winter heating season. This slight decrease is mainly because of lower crude-oil prices, the EIA said, raising its forecast for the fuel by a penny from the previous report.
The agency left its Brent crude estimate unchanged from the February report, forecasting an average of $105 for 2014 and $101 for 2015.