May 13, 2003

The U.S. Dapartment of Energy has published its 2003 revised average representative costs for five residential energy sources -- electricity, natural gas, heating oil, propane, and kerosene (Federal Register, April 29, 2003). There was a significant increase in energy costs from most sources except electricity. For example, compared with last year, the average cost of propane per million BTU increased by 39 percent from 2002. This is in contrast to last year when it dropped 15.5 percent, from $11.28 in 2001, according to the DOE. Natural gas experienced a 21.6 drop in 2002, but this year it increased by 24% to nearly the 2001 cost. Electricity showed the smallest increase from 2001.

Representative energy costs, 2002 - 2003

Energy source 2002 Cost in common unit of measure 2002 Cost per million BTU 2003 Cost in common unit of measure 2003 Cost per million BTU
Electricity 8.28 cents/kWh $24.27 8.41 cents/kWh $24.65
Natural Gas 65.6 cents/therm
  or $6.74MCF
$6.56 81.6 cents/therm
  or $8.31MCF
$8.16
# 2 oil $1.08/gallon $7.79 $1.22/gallon $8.80
Propane $0.87/gallon $9.53 $1.21/gallon $13.25
Kerosene $1.23/gallon $9.11 $1.43/gallon $10.59

kWh = Kilowatt hour
Therm = 100,000 BTU
MCF = 1,000 cubic feet
BTU is British Thermal Unit --
Just what is a BTU?