Some turn to firewood as way to beat high heating bills

Fort Worth Star-TelegramDecember 10, 2008 

With North Texas getting another brief blast of cold air, firewood season is in full swing.

And some wood retailers say buyers may be using firewood to cut down on heating costs.

"It's been going pretty good for about a month," said Butch Wilson of Gourmet Wood Products in far south Fort Worth. "Most of the time we got a guy who comes in and says: 'My wife made me come over here. She wants a fire.' But I think some are using it to try and save on their energy bills."

At Gourmet Wood, which has tall stacks of wood all over its property, a half-cord of wood costs about $150 and a cord is a little less than twice that. A cord is a stack 8 feet long, 4 feet high and 4 feet wide.

Despite dramatic decreases in natural gas prices since the summer, "customers can expect winter prices to be slightly higher than last year," Atmos Energy spokesman Ray Granado said.

The Energy Information Administration has predicted that nationally, prices will be 2 percent higher this season than last winter. The higher heating costs are due, in part, to 30 percent of the winter natural gas supply being held in underground storage. Most of that stored natural gas was purchased last summer, when prices were nearly double what they are now, according to the American Gas Association.

In Tarrant County, other firewood sellers have seen business vary.

Treetop Tree Service in Arlington saw a run on cords of wood last month.

Read the complete story at star-telegram.com

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