Affordable Energy: Critical for Public Health

  • Adam Kay
  • The affordability of natural gas saves customers money, and studies consistently show increased funding for energy assistance programs, in both the U.S. and globally, is one of the most effective public health interventions.  Households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying save an average of $1,068 per year compared to homes using electricity for these applications. Studies suggest that these savings could have a significant positive impact on the health of those in low-income communities.

    The lower cost of energy driven by immense reserves of accessible and affordable natural gas in our nation has saved an estimated 11,000 lives per year due to the lower cost of heating alone. Cheaper air conditioning in the summer helps to save lives from heat stroke by enabling lower-income households to use energy more freely, with less concern for affordability.

    The availability of affordable natural gas has directly benefited the U.S. agriculture sector, extending benefits to farms, ranches and beyond through jobs and tax revenue. More than five million direct U.S. agriculture jobs are supported by natural gas. When Sri Lanka stopped using natural gas-based fertilizers, agricultural yields fell by half in a single year, impacting Sri Lankans in a direct and significant way. The use of American natural-gas fertilizers directly contributes to improved nutritional benefits in the U.S. and throughout the world, enabling people to live happier, healthier lives. Studies have shown that good nutrition can reduce the risks of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, some cancers, and osteoporosis. The CDC emphasizes the particular importance of adequate nutrition in childhood adolescence as important for proper growth and development, and to prevent a variety of health conditions.

    Natural gas has given the United States the cheapest electricity costs in the developed world. This has provided financial incentives to reindustrialize America. Direct investment in manufacturing in the U.S. totaled $121.3 billion in 2021 alone. This has helped create American jobs that provide livable salaries and benefits, allowing more people to regularly visit doctors, access better health insurance, and reap the health benefits thereof. Natural gas has saved businesses more than half a trillion dollars ($500,000,000,000) over the past decade. Savings can be passed on to customers and to employees, driving yet higher employment rates and saving more money for customers.

    There is a direct link between improved health outcomes and improved economic and financial conditions Studies have shown that American families earning less than $35,800 per year are five times as likely to report being in poor or fair health as their counterparts in families earning four times as much. . Natural gas gives families more money through lower cost, as well as through improved economic opportunities.

    The public health benefits of natural gas and natural gas infrastructure are tremendous. Natural gas utilities will continue to provide benefits to the communities they serve by providing safe, reliable and affordable energy to customers.