Will Heating Bills Kill the US Economic Rally?

Here are some tidbits and stats I pulled from another article from Ben Rooney called Winter heat crisis looms, little relief seen. This is some scary information for the economy…

  • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally
    funded program that gives money to states to help low-income
    households, the elderly and the disabled cope with the financial strain
    of high heating bills.
    • This year, however, the program could be squeezed by a projected 20%
      average increase in heating bills nationwide
      and an influx of people
      applying for assistance due to sour economic conditions, high gas
      prices and a weak labor market.
    • “Anything over $2.50 a gallon for low-income family is a budget
      buster,” said Richard Moffi, who manages Vermont’s LIHEAP program.
    • Heating oil prices are expected to reach $4.34 a gallon nationwide this
      winter, according to estimates from the Energy Information
  • … many low-income families are still behind on payments for last year’s heating bills.
  • The National Energy Assistance Director’s Association (NEADA) recently
    reported that more than 15 million households are currently facing
    utility shutoffs
    because they can not pay their energy bill.
  • Mark Wolfe, executive director of the NEADA, said that low-income
    energy assistance programs usually focus on families that make roughly
    $31,000 a year
    . Now, more middle-class families, including those that
    earn up to $50,000 a year, could be in need of assistance, he added.
  • A recent survey by the NEADA showed that 70% of low-income households
    said they reduced spending
    on food as a result of high energy and gas
    • That was followed by 31% that said they have cut back on purchases of medicine
    • 19% that curtailed spending on education.
  • LIHEAP’s budget for fiscal year 2008, which ends in September, was
    almost $2.57 billion in federal dollars
    . For fiscal year 2009,
    President Bush has issued a budget request of $2 billion for the
    , which is a decrease of 22%.
  • The question is: Will Washington act in time to make a meaningful difference? “The government is better when disaster strikes,” Wolfe said. “It’s not as good when we say the disaster is coming.”

Here are some other posts of mine regarding Heating Oil

Another Writer Sounding the Heating Oil Alarm (8/16/08)
Update on Heating Oil and China Growth (8/6/08)
The Fuel Cost Balance (8/4/08)
Oil Attention Too (5/27/08)
Oil Attention (5/14/08)


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