A cold, costly winter ahead

For many years Americans who heat their homes with natural gas have been a privileged class. While families who use fuel oil have cursed OPEC and watched helplessly as their heating costs reached crushing levels. Government price controls have kept gas bills comparatively modest. Last winter, heating with gas was about 50% cheaper than burning oil. The gap between the two fuels has been so great that since 1980 more than a million households have switched their money-munching oil boilers or furnaces to gas, a process that costs anywhere from...

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