USA Today reports today that natural gas prices are edging higher:
The cost at the pump isn't the only high gas price nowadays.
Sparked by worries about hot weather and a busy hurricane season, natural gas prices have jumped in the last week to the highest since December. Tuesday, the price for natural gas trading in New York for delivery in July closed at $8.064 per million British thermal units. Although that was slightly lower than the previous day's close, it was 25% above the price seen a year ago.
For consumers, the higher natural gas prices mean heating costs could be elevated this winter for the most popular heating source in the USA if the gains hold. Increased natural gas prices also could lead to higher electricity costs later this summer to power air conditioners, because a large amount of electricity is generated with natural gas.
Generating electricity with wind power helps to conserve natural gas and also exerts some downward pressure on natural gas prices, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Natural gas generators can be "turned up and down" rapidly, one of the primary way utilities cope with varying customer electricity demand throughout the day, and so they are also the easiest to adjust when clean wind power is being delivered to the utility system. Also, the oldest and dirtiest gas generators are usually the most expensive to run, and the first to be turned down or off when wind power is being produced.