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Shale Gas Said to Be Saving Consumers Billions

Winter has given most of the nation a beating this year, but consumers who heat their homes with natural gas could save as much as $300 per household on heating costs compared to last year, according to American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF) CEO Gregory C. Staple.

Staple told attendees Tuesday at the winter meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Gas Committee that savings in the aggregate could amount to $9 billion this year over last.

According to a study of price and production data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and analyzed by Navigant Consulting Inc. and natural gas advocate ACSF, the boom in shale gas production has saved Americans billions of dollars. Ample supplies of gas, thanks to shale plays, have kept prices below levels of 2007 and 2008, they said.

"The savings to consumers from heating their homes with natural gas are a de facto economic stimulus -- comparable in size to the recently proposed Senate jobs bill," Staple said.

Staple said residential consumers are paying about $6.5 billion less than two years ago and more than $9 billion less than last year to heat their homes with gas. The wholesale cost of gas as reflected by Henry Hub prices fell by more than $18 billion year over year, Staple said. He noted that while gasoline and heating oil prices also have declined about 10% and 15%, respectively, since February 2008, natural gas prices have declined by 37%.

"These finding show the role that U.S. natural gas reserves can play in spurring an economic recovery," Staple said. "We hope that policymakers in Washington will take note."

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