Why you can expect higher heating bills this winter

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By: Angeli Kakade, Buzz60

While all eyes are on the November election, people may want to keep those long winter months in the back of their minds. The government has issued a warning to Americans that they should expect higher energy bills this winter.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this winter will be colder than last, especially outside of the West. That may mean less money in your wallet for holiday gifts.

Natural gas is up 22 percent to $635 on average, and the average bill in the Northeast is expected to rise 29 percent.

Nearly half of Americans heat their homes with natural gas, while 60 percent of the South uses electricity to stay warm. Electricity is also up five percent, but rates should remain flat. For the five percent of Americans who heat their homes with heating oil, they can expect a major increase of 38 percent.

Experts say if you're concerned about finances, apply the percentages to your own bill. So factor hand warmers into your budget now, and prepare for winter hibernation.

Scroll through to see the craziest pictures from last year's winter:

9 PHOTOS
Midwest snowstorms
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Midwest snowstorms
LAKEWOOD, CO - FEBRUARY 02: Anastasiya Calkins walks through snow covered trees at Belmar Park in Lakewood, February, 02, 2016. Snow continues to fall in the area. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - FEBRUARY 02: People try to push a car that got stuck along Colfax Avenue in Lakewood, February, 02, 2016. Snow continues to fall in the area. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - FEBRUARY 02: Eric Serrano, left, and Art Tellez puts on chains on their garbage truck, February, 02, 2016. The two garbage men were sliding all over the road when they decided to chain up for the rest of their route in Lakewood. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - FEBRUARY 02: Snow continues to fall as Rob Smith clears his driveway outside his home in Lakewood, February, 02, 2016. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - FEBRUARY 02: Snow continues to fall as morning traffic makes its way along 6th Avenue in Lakewood, February, 02, 2016. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - FEBRUARY 02: Snow continues to fall as morning traffic makes its way along 6th Avenue in Lakewood, February, 02, 2016. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - February 02: Icicles form on a porch awning near Colorado Blvd and Cornell Ave during a heavy snowstorm February 02, 2016. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - February 02: Exhausted from shoveling sidewalks, Tre Schlegel, 5, left, and his father Jon, make snow angels in their front yard near Warren Ave and Madison St. during a heavy snowstorm February 02, 2016. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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