The Christian Science Monitor notes that that the rise in energy prices is starting to make a dent in household budgets—not just for the middle class and the poor, but even for the wealthy.
Like our cars, our houses are getting larger and larger, particularly at the high end of the market:
The nation’s abodes, just like the size of the average car, are getting larger and more complicated. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average new house was 2,230 square feet in 2003, compared with 1,500 square feet in 1970. And it’s not unusual to see something much larger. Last year, the NAHB showcase home in Las Vegas was more than 5,000 square feet. This year’s home in Orlando, Fla., is more than 8,000 square feet.
Larger homes use a lot more energy than smaller ones. So as energy prices rise, people with the largest homes get stung the worst.
Of course, the wealthy are most able to take the hit. But some people who wouldn’t have thought twice about energy costs a couple of years ago may start to feel the bite of rising prices: heating oil is 60% more expensive now than at this time last year; propane, 30% more expensive; and natural gas… well, just look at the graph below (from WTRG Economics).