As Americans face unprecedented social and economic difficulties, households across the country are feeling the pain of mounting expenses. Fortunately, one source of relief continues to be reliable and affordable energy supported by our nation’s abundance of natural gas. The U.S. Department of Energy, in its annual calculation of the average unit cost of residential energy, has confirmed that natural gas is the lowest-cost source of energy available for households. Households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying save an average of $879 per year compared to homes using electricity for those applications. Natural gas utilities are committed to fueling our communities through the delivery of clean, affordable and reliable energy.
In July 2020, the American Gas Association (AGA) reported on the benefits to the economy through the direct use of natural gas and found amazing results. In 2018, over 3.4 million jobs were connected to the direct use of natural gas. These jobs added $408 billion to GDP and paid $152 billion in personal income. Today, more than 4.1 million jobs are connected to the natural gas industry with constant innovation poised to ensure continued future growth. 83% of natural gas jobs are local ensuring the economic benefits of the direct use of natural gas stay in the community.
Small businesses across America continue to rely on the low, stable price of natural gas. Over 21,000 businesses sign up to use natural gas each year and in total 5.5 million businesses in the United States use natural gas. Its affordability has led to $121 billion in savings for American businesses since 2009. Advancements in technology continue to save natural gas customers money. Utilities invest $3.9 million per day in efficiency programs and helped customers offset 13.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from 2012 to 2018, the equivalent to removing 2.9 million cars off the road for a year.
While a small number of communities, largely in California, speculate over the future of natural gas, 114 local jurisdictions in the state have adopted resolutions affirming their support for balanced energy solutions.
There is no need to wonder what could happen if we removed the benefits of natural gas from our homes and businesses. A new study looking at the Columbus, Ohio Metro Area found that the increase in monthly utility costs resulting from banning natural gas would reduce discretionary consumer spending and hurt Columbus’ competitiveness, causing the area’s gross domestic product to plunge by $271 million by 2040. A forthcoming study on the Denver, Colorado metro area found a local gas ban would deliver minimal emissions reductions while lowering the area’s gross domestic product by $220 million by 2041.
Fortunately, there are more cost-effective solutions for communities to reduce emissions without sacrificing economic growth. As counties continue to grapple with the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s natural gas utilities are committed to working with local officials to help secure our clean energy future.