Jonathan Newton—The Washington Post/Getty Images
By Kaitlin Mulhere
October 14, 2016

Winter is coming and it’s bringing with it an extra heavy hit to your wallet this year.

Thanks to higher fuel prices and a bitter winter forecast, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says average household winter heating expenses will increase this year.

The administration predicts homes that using primarily natural gas will spend an average of $116 (or 22%) more this winter compared to last year. Prices for natural gas are expected to be at the highest level since 2010-11. Homes that rely mainly on heating oil will spend an average of $378 (or 38%) more this winter than last, as retail prices for heating oil are 15% higher.

Part of the reason you’ll spend more on heating costs this winter is that you spent relatively little last winter, which was unusually warm, resulting in the lowest demand in 25 years, according to the report.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting temperatures that are 17% colder in the Northeast and Midwest and 18% colder in the South this winter. But even those lower temperatures would be about 3% warmer than the average of the five winters preceding 2015-16.

Of course, how much you spend on heat depends on your local weather, the size of your home, and how energy efficient it is. To keep from busting your budget, read our advice on ways to save on heating bills.

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