America’s Home Heating Divide
A Washington Post article this month illustrated how homes across the country are heated, offering a unique view into what has become a relevant topic of discussion given the volatility of energy prices over the last year. According to a 2017-2021 American Community Survey, nearly 90 percent of U.S. homes are heated with either electricity or natural gas. The remaining roughly 10 percent is split between propane, fuel oil and wood. In order to meet the climate goals set by the Biden administration, homes will eventually have to shift off of natural gas, propane, fuel oil and wood and shift to electricity -a transition that is much easier said than done.
Interestingly enough, a few regions stick out in the breakdown of American home heating. New England, which saw some of the highest American energy prices this past winter, accounts for most of the country’s consumption of oil for heating purposes. North eastern governments blocking regional pipelines to transport natural gas or propane have forced prices higher for consumers..
As the Biden administration continues to push a transition to heating via electricity, the shift must be done thoughtfully and carefully, with different approaches needed for different communities. There is not a one-size-fits-all policy. Building out more energy infrastructure, especially pipelines in the Northeast, will allow for that transition to be supplemented with cleaner fuels. Rushing such a change across the country could have disastrous effects to energy costs and our overall electrical grids’ security.