In our Winter Fuels Outlook, we forecast that average household expenditures for home heating fuels will increase this winter because of both higher expected fuel costs and higher energy consumption due to colder temperatures. Compared with last winter, in nominal terms, we forecast expenditures for homes that heat with natural gas will rise by 28%, heating oil by 27%, electricity by 10%, and propane 5% from October–March.
Global liquid fuels
The Brent crude oil spot price in our forecast averages $93 per barrel (b) in the fourth quarter of 2022 (4Q22) and $95/b in 2023. Potential petroleum supply disruptions and slower-than-expected crude oil production growth could lead to higher oil prices, while the possibility of slower-than-forecast economic growth may contribute to lower prices.
OPEC+ announced a production cut of 2 million barrels per day (b/d) on October 5. OPEC crude oil production in our forecast falls from an average of 29.6 million barrels per day (b/d) in September to an average of 28.6 million b/d over 4Q22 and 1Q23.
U.S. crude oil production in our forecast averages 11.7 million b/d in 2022 and 12.4 million b/d in 2023, which would surpass the record high set in 2019.
We forecast that global consumption of liquid fuels will rise by an average of 2.1 million b/d for all of 2022 and by an average of 1.5 million b/d in 2023.
U.S. retail gasoline prices in our forecast average $3.80 per gallon (gal) in 4Q22 and $3.57/gal in 2023. Retail diesel prices average $4.86/gal in 4Q22 and $4.29/gal in 2023.
We expect U.S. gasoline consumption in 2022 to average 8.8 million b/d, down 40,000 b/d from 2021, and we expect it to stay near that level in 2023, with rising fuel efficiency offsetting price- and economy-driven increases in transportation demand.
We expect the Henry Hub natural gas spot price to average about $7.40 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 4Q22 and then fall below $6.00/MMBtu in 2023 as U.S. natural gas production rises.
We forecast that U.S. natural gas inventories will end the injection season (April–October) at nearly 3.5 Tcf, which would be 6% below the five-year (2017–2021) average.
U.S. consumption of natural gas will average 87.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2022, up 3.9 Bcf/d from 2021, reflecting more consumption across almost all sectors. Consumption falls by 2.6 Bcf/d in the 2023 forecast because of lower consumption in the electric power and industrial sectors.
In 3Q22, U.S. dry natural gas production averaged 98.5 Bcf/d, up from 95.1 in 1Q22. We forecast natural gas production to average 99.1 Bcf/d in 4Q22 and 99.6 Bcf/d in 2023.
Electricity, coal, renewables, and emissions
We expect U.S. sales of electricity to ultimate customers to rise by 2.7% in 2022, mostly because of more economic activity but also because of slightly hotter summer weather than last year. We forecast U.S. sales of electricity to fall by 0.9% in 2023.
Increases in U.S. electricity generation in our forecast come almost entirely from solar and wind. We expect renewable sources will provide 22% of U.S. generation in 2022 and 24% in 2023, up from 20% in 2021.
Natural gas fuels 38% of U.S. electricity generation in 2022, up from 37% in 2021, but we forecast it to fall back to 36% in 2023. Coal-fired electricity generation falls from 23% of the U.S. total last year to 20% in 2022 and 19% in 2023. Growing generation from renewable sources limits growth in natural gas-fired generation, and coal’s generation share declines because of the expected retirement of some coal-fired capacity.
We forecast that wholesale electricity prices at major power trading hubs will be about 20-60% higher on average this winter. The highest wholesale electricity prices are likely to be in New England because of possible natural gas pipeline constraints, reduced fuel inventories for power generation, and uncertainty regarding liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments given the tight global supply conditions.
We forecast the U.S. residential price of electricity will average 14.9 cents per kilowatthour in 2022, up 8% from 2021. Higher retail electricity prices largely reflect an increase in wholesale power prices, which are driven by higher natural gas prices.
U.S. coal production in the forecast increases by 20 million short tons (MMst) in 2022 to total 598 MMst for the year. We expect coal production will fall to 581 MMst in 2023.
We expect energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the United States to increase by 1.5% in 2022 and then to decrease 2.3% in 2023 to just under 2021 levels.