Helping Europe’s Households

Governments risk worsening the energy crisis by seeking to suppress price rises—there are better options

As Europe approaches the cold winter months, governments face difficult policy choices as they seek to protect consumers from soaring energy bills in an environment of generally high inflation. Wholesale prices for natural gas were on average seven-and-a-half times higher in the summer of 2022 than they were in early 2021. Even though they have since fallen from their highs at the end of the summer, they remain well above their early 2021 levels and could rise again ahead of the 2023–24 winter. There have been steep rises in the cost of coal and crude oil, too.

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