Reports & Studies

Pathway for Progress: Natural Gas and Addressing Energy Poverty

Energy poverty is a hidden weight dragging families across the United States further into poverty and forcing unimaginable choices upon them. Vulnerable communities suffer from high energy bills, at times driven higher by limited access to affordable energy sources like natural gas. 

Published : December 2020

Related Key Terms:

Permian Basin
Hydraulic Fracturing
natural gas
Energy Poverty
Energy Costs

Table of Contents

Key Findings (Pg. 2)

What is Energy Poverty (Pg. 3)

Energy Poverty Disproportionately Impacts Low-Income Households (Pg. 5)

Communities of Color Are Disproportionately Impacted by High Energy Costs (Pg. 8)

What is Energy Insecurity in Rural Communities? (Pg. 10)

Natural Gas is Key to Addressing Energy Poverty (Pg. 14)

Conclusion (Pg. 18)


Key Findings

  • NATURAL GAS IS AN AFFORDABLE RESOURCE: Record natural gas production is supplying affordable energy to households at low rates, passing the savings onto rate payers. Denying residents access to natural gas and natural gas-generated electricity means denying them potential savings and compounding their struggle to pay for food and medicine, while also keeping the lights on.
  • ENERGY POVERTY IS BOTH REGIONAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC: Energy poverty is a problem across the United States, disproportionately impacting lower-income communities, rural homes and communities of color. These households can pay up to nearly three times more for energy than the national average. In certain areas in Texas, low-income households pay up to 28 percent of their monthly income to cover their energy needs.
  • HIGH ENERGY COSTS DISPROPORTIONATLY AFFECT BIPOCs: Minorities and people of color are greatly affected by high energy prices, with many Latino and Black rate payers reporting serious sacrifices to pay for their monthly bills. Black homeowners, for example, pay an average of $408 more on energy per year than their white counterparts.
  • EXACERBATING THE IMPACT OF COVID-19: Many of the same communities facing disproportionately high energy costs have also been hit hardest by COVID-19, making them least capable of absorbing higher energy bills caused by working from home.
  • NATURAL GAS IS ENRICHING LIVES: The Shale Revolution has halved natural gas prices in the United States, saving hundreds of thousands of Americans from energy cost induced poverty. In fact, shale-driven improvements in energy productivity reduced the domestic price of natural gas by 63 percent and has saved U.S. families an average of $2,500 annually.

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