Why Home Energy Costs Might Get More Volatile

By: Anneken Tappe · February 05, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s been a rollercoaster decade for the U.S. energy industry and, by extension, consumers.

In the early 2010s, the U.S. produced just enough fossil fuel to meet its own energy demands. By 2022, it had become the largest exporter of natural gas in the world. The Energy Department estimates see the country’s export capacity nearly doubling in the next four years.

That’s good news for oil and gas companies. Here’s why it’s not as simple for consumers.

Geopolitical Effects

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine plunged Western Europe into an energy crisis, and the U.S. committed to ship natural gas to Europe to bridge the newly opened gap.

However, the Biden administration has put a halt on approvals for new export terminals handling liquified natural gas, or LNG, saying the Department of Energy would evaluate the exports’ impact on energy costs, America’s energy security and climate change.

Indeed, utility bills have gotten pricer over the past years. Some analysts say that America’s increased focus on exports has led to imported volatility in prices. That is fueling concerns that U.S. consumers could now be on the hook for price spikes in response to geopolitical tensions and extreme weather events – and more so than before.

Others, including the American Petroleum Institute, believe the U.S. can easily keep supplies at home and exports going. What that means for American consumers remains to be seen.

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