Entries in Fuel Costs (3)


Heating Bills Expected to Rise This Winter

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As the temperature falls, heating bills are expected to rise.  The Energy Department released its annual Winter Fuels Outlook Wednesday, and according to EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski, “It is going to be colder than last year, we think, and as a result of that, fuel bills are going to be higher."

Colder weather will force homeowners to crank up the heat. If you heat with oil, your bill could be 19 percent higher.  Natural gas customers are expected to pay 15 percent more, and propane customers can expect their bill to go up by as much as 13 percent.

The average bill will be nearly $2500 dollars this winter, a record high.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Las Vegas Airline Would Let Flyers Gamble on Prices

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- With all the angst that goes into buying an airline ticket -- Am I too early or too late? Do I wait until the last minute or purchase far in advance? What about the fees? -- purchasing airfare can feel like a bit of a gamble.

But one Las Vegas carrier wants to raise the stakes, so to speak.  In a plan outlined in Bloomberg Business Week, Allegiant Air is considering a pricing structure where customers can either lock in a price or choose an adjustable ticket price based on fuel price fluctuations before travel.

In other words, fliers would have to pay more if fuel goes up or would get a partial refund if fuel goes down.

Allegiant Air relies more on leisure travelers than other carriers, with a presence in several Florida markets, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Hawaii and Las Vegas. The dependence on leisure fliers means it’s more exposed to fuel prices than airlines who have higher-paying business travelers to shoulder fuel cost increases.

The new pricing structure is at least six months away, according to Bloomberg Business Week. The airline’s CEO said that even if the plan passed muster with regulators, the technology isn’t in place. “We as a company are not ready for it mostly because our automation is not ready,” said airline CEO Maurice Gallagher Jr.

Getting the plan past regulators may be no small task.  Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation issued several new rules to provide clarity in airfare pricing for consumers, including disclosing all taxes and fees up front. While a plan such as Allegiant Air’s wasn’t specifically addressed, it doesn’t conform to the overarching goal of making airfare easier for the average consumer to understand.

But, the DOT told Bloomberg, “Our rules do not prohibit airlines and ticket agents from selling tickets in which passengers pay part of the fare immediately and the rest later, with the final payment dependent on changes in fuel or other costs.” As Bloomberg points out, some tour operators operate similarly, with a sale structured in partial payments.

It’s clear Allegiant Air, like the rest of the airline industry, is looking for creative ways to increase the bottom line. Allegiant became the second domestic carrier to charge for carry-on bags. (Spirit Airlines, another airline largely dependent on leisure travelers, was the first.)

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Poll: Americans Mostly Concerned with Economy, Not Gas Prices

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Gas prices?  Who's worried about gas prices?

Not the American public, if a new Gallup poll is to be believed.

Though motorists are paying more for gasoline than at any point since it averaged four bucks a gallon in July 2008, there doesn't seem to be all that much anxiety about it.  Just six percent of respondents in the Gallup poll consider rising fuel costs their most important concern.

As for all the unrest in the Middle East and Libya, only one percent of Americans put that at the top of their list of worries.

The real concern remains the economy, with over seven in ten naming some aspect of it as the most pressing problem in the country.

According to the Gallup poll, the top three important issues are the economy in general, unemployment and the federal budget deficit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio