Average Gas and Electricity Bills by State
Utilities are a must-have, but no one enjoys the day a utility bill lands in their mailbox. Even if what we’re paying is reasonable, we’d all like to spend a little less on the energy we use. After all, utilities aren’t something we can live without.
However, the amount you pay varies significantly from state to state, and depends on the lifestyle you lead. Let’s examine the analytics, find out which states are cheap for energy bills and which ones are expensive, and why they vary so much.
How much does a gas bill cost per month on average?
According to the figures, the average cost of natural gas in the US is a little over $100 per month. Gas is used to heat your home, warm your water, and often powers your stove or oven. Although $100 is the average monthly cost, the amount you pay can vary depending on the time of year. You’ll spend more in the winter when you’re heating your home and less on gas in the summer when your electricity charges are likely to be higher instead.
How much a home is charged depends on which state they live in, but there are many other factors to consider:
- The age of your home – older houses tend to be less well insulated than newer builds and therefore take more energy to warm up in the winter and cool in the summer.
- The size of your home – bigger is always going to be more expensive.
- The number of people that live in your home – again, more means more expensive.
- The age of your appliances – modern stoves, furnaces, and so on are more energy-efficient than older ones and are therefore cheaper to run.
- The price of natural gas – gas prices can vary in the same way that oil prices do and this will impact the size of your bill.
What does my gas bill include?
The main item on your gas bill will be your gas usage, which will be measured in CCFs (hundreds of cubic feet) or in therms.
One therm is equal to 100,000 BTUs (British Thermal Unit). This figure is then multiplied by the unit cost, which varies from state to state and is affected by the commodity’s price. Included in the unit price will be a small amount that pays for transportation.
There will also be a customer charge, which is a charge for each day’s service. On top of these will be state and local taxes and fees, which vary according to where you live.
What is the average gas bill for a three-bedroom house?
According to the US Census Bureau, the average price of a house in the US in March 2020 was $320,0001. This equates to people buying homes around 1,850 square feet, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. As a three-bedroom house is the country's median house size, you can expect its gas bills to be around the US's average, i.e., $100.
Is gas heating expensive?
Gas furnaces are more expensive to install than electric ones. It costs between $4,500 - $6,000 for a gas appliance and $2,000 - $4,000 for an electric furnace to run in a three-bedroom house. Electric furnaces are not only cheaper to install but more efficient, too. Some new ones attain 100% annual fuel-utilization-efficiency (AFUE), with gas furnaces anything from 55% to a much more respectable 97%. Despite this, gas furnaces often heat a home more quickly than their electric equivalent.
Despite all this, gas heating is cheaper to run because of the cost of electricity. Although renewable electricity sources lead to reduced costs and natural gas prices are expected to rise in the future, gas heating costs should stay about the same for the next few years.
What uses the most gas in the home?
According to the US Energy Information Administration2, about half the homes in the US use natural gas to heat buildings and water, for cooking, and to dry laundry.
Heating is the single biggest user of natural gas in the home. Heating and cooling are always the biggest energy consumers in the domestic market since many of us have to heat our homes in winter and cool them in the summer. Next up are water heaters followed by ranges and ovens, and gas-powered dryers.
Other appliances that use gas include:
- Patio heaters
- Fire pits
Why is my electric and gas bill so high?
There are several reasons why your energy costs might be greater than the average in your area:
1. Your house is an older building
Modern building regulations are far more energy conscious than they were in the past. We have become aware that insulation is an important way to reduce electricity and gas costs to the consumer and reduce energy use overall.
Older houses tend to be draughty and difficult to keep at a comfortable temperature, though there are ways to improve a building’s energy efficiency.
2. Your appliances are not as efficient as they could be
The appliances manufactured today make far better use of energy than those produced even a few years ago. Electronic gadgets on standby used to use almost as much electricity as when they were in use and now use almost none. (Though you should note any plugged-in appliance or gadget will draw some energy, even when turned off.)
3. The thermostat is set too high in the winter or too low in the summer
Lowering the thermostat in winter by even a few degrees can significantly reduce your electricity and gas bill, and the same in reverse in the summer. We have become used to wearing the same clothes indoors, whatever the weather, which has pushed up our power usage.
4. Your home is large
Everyone wants a big house, and bigger houses cost more to run. Even if you live alone in a 3-bedroom home, your bills are likely to be higher as your heating and cooling work hard to cool or heat your entire home.
5. Your location
Apart from the unit prices of gas and electricity, your location has a big bearing on your energy use. Living anywhere that experiences extreme temperatures will increase your energy bills.
Gas bill monthly averages by state
Here is a list of average monthly gas bills for all 50 states:
|State||Average Gas Bill|
How can I reduce my gas bill?
There are many ways you can reduce your gas bill. Some may require some cash, but you will still be able to save on your monthly gas bill:
1. Improve your house’s insulation and energy efficiency. There are a lot of modern methods that can help your home resist temperature changes. You may need to upgrade your windows, update your heating and cooling system, and add more insulation.
2. Replace old appliances with new ones. Modern technology has given us far more energy-efficient appliances of all kinds.
3. Lower your thermostat in winter and raise it in summer. Heating and cooling costs are the biggest part of a gas bill. This doesn’t need to be dramatic, just 2-3 degrees will help, and you won’t notice much of a difference!
4. Don’t heat or cool areas of your home you don’t use. Many heating systems allow for individual settings for each area of a house. Rather than just choosing a blanket setting for the whole house, consider not heating rooms you don’t use. Also, don’t heat or cool your house when no one is there; set the timer carefully.
Gas prices vary widely from state to state, though in some cases, the cost of other utilities helps address the seeming imbalance in prices. We are all much more energy conscious than we once were, with climate change and global warming high on every country’s agenda.
If your gas bill is out of step with the average in your city, county, or state, try to figure out why. It could well be that with a little thought and planning, you can reduce your gas bills significantly.
Remember that we have been looking mostly at the gas bill figures. You should examine all the utilities to see if savings can be made there, too.