NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Slashing energy costs this winter does not have to be costly since consumers can make easy, affordable changes.

Temperatures are predicted to be “near normal” for the remainder of winter despite the chilly start to the season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Milder weather should help decrease consumer expenditures on home heating compared with last winter, the Energy Information Administration said.

Lower crude oil prices are expected to help reduce household heating oil expenditures by 27%, or $632, compared with last winter, with U.S. heating oil prices averaging 20% lower at $3.09 per gallon,” the report said. “Propane prices are expected to be 13% lower in the Northeast and 26% lower in the Midwest, resulting in households spending 20% and 34% less on propane in those regions, respectively.”

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