August 21, 2008
Massachusetts residents who heat their homes with natural gas or oil could end up paying nearly $1 billion more this year than they did in 2007, about a 30 percent increase, according to a University of Massachusetts report set to be released today.
“It’s a tremendous amount of money out of people’s pockets,” said Robin Sherman, the report’s lead author. “People can cut back on [heating] to some extent if it gets too expensive, but there’s obviously a floor beyond which they can’t go to keep themselves in their homes without freezing.”
The increase will have an especially dramatic impact on the nearly 1 million households that are heated with oil, which now sells for about $4.70 a gallon, up from $2.59 a year ago, according to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.