Natural Gas Has Saved Businesses Over $76 Billion

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K.J. Rodgers
Crownsville, Maryland  

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Businesses in America have many issues to worry about, but overhead is not one of them for those saving nearly 50% thanks to clean inexpensive natural gas. 

Owning a business in today’s climate is tough. Long gone are the days where Sam Walton or Harlan Sanders built their businesses on low overhead costs, focusing on the loyalty of customers to whom they passed along the savings. Today, business owners have to jump through endlessly multiplying regulatory hoops and deal with the ever higher utility bills…except for one thing; natural gas costs that have gone down, down and down some more thanks to the shale revolution.

BusinessesIn the last eight years or so, this utility burden has been lightened; thanks again to natural gas. Recently the American Gas Association (AGA) released a new report describing how important natural gas has been to the commercial sector. The report describes how commercial natural gas utility bills have dropped nearly 50%; down $337 per month to an average of $405. This equates to $76 billion in savings for businesses since 2009. This is the lowest amount commercial consumers have paid since 1975!

BusinessesThis is fantastic news as these businesses cover a wide spectrum of industries. The report defines the commercial sector as non-residential, non-manufacturing, and non-agriculture. It includes over 5.4 million customers. Did you know that the average commercial building is 15,700 square feet? A $405 gas bill sounds dang low to me for that size building.

Natural gas use has also been on the rise during this same timeframe. The shale revolution is not just lowering monthly bills, but, also, making it possible to use more of it and expand enterprises and industries.The EIA projects demand is going to continue to increase for another 20+ years. With the help of new fracking technologies, yet more efficient methods of burning natural gas, and with the supplementary help of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, businesses now have the capacity to do so much more. Energy is being effectively stretched by all this. The new supply of gas created by the shale revolution has, by lowering prices and overhead costs, also swelled demand, creating enormous new potential for American businesses to grow.

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The AGA report also notes 39 states have adopted or considered innovative proposals to expand natural gas infrastructure so more homes and businesses can have access to it. I cannot wait for the day I can have a natural gas line ran through my neighborhood, but what we know all too well, at this point, is that no pipeline happens without a fight these days. It’s sad and makes me wonder whether those opponents would prefer that people such as me and all those businesses now getting a break with natural gas, would prefer we continue to use heating oil.

Natural gas, of course, has been putting money back into the pockets of residential consumers from day one. Last year I covered how gas prices have led to UGI Utilities in Lehigh Valley to decrease rates by 6.7% – saving residential customers nearly 50% as well – or about $1,800 per household. When you combine the money the shale revolution has saving hard working Americans with the recent $1,000 dollars fracking has saved the average household on gasoline, it’s easy to see the middle class is the one truly winning in this revolution.

These two numbers, though compiled from different sources, suggest fracking has produced enough oil and gas supply to put $233 back into our monthly household budgets, not to mention to savings on electricity and the gains businesses have earned and passed along to us in the form savings on goods and services we buy from those businesses. Thanks to fracking, it is our dollars, in addition to our energy, that have been stretched and what a great thing it is.

Read the full report from the American Gas Association here.

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