Natural Gas Industry Spokesman Blames "Strong" Economy for Higher Gas Prices

SEPTEMBER 30, 2004 - Posted at 3:49 p.m. CDT

WASHINGTON - You wouldn't think there'd be a negative byproduct from the strengthening economy.  But a spokesman with the natural gas industry says it's one reason consumers will be paying higher heating bills this winter.

Joseph Blount is the chairman of the Natural Gas Association.

Blount says the "upward pressure" on natural gas prices is "the result of the strengthening economy in the United States."

The industry also blames increased demand, higher wholesale costs and a colder-than-normal winter that's expected in some regions.

Blount says it's expected to be colder than usual on the East Coast and in some Southern states, normal in the mid-central states and slightly colder in the western states.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)