The Federal Energy Department warns it will cost more to keep warm this winter, with a bigger increase for natural gas than for heating oil. But a New Jersey expert disagrees.

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Energy reports an expected increase in natural gas prices of about 13 percent, but Tom Kloza, of Gasbuddy.com in Wall Township, believes heating oil prices will also be high.

"If you get a cluster of bad weather, you could certainly see retail heating oil prices go above $4, and for people who are getting deliveries of hundreds of gallons of fuel that's pretty challenging."

As far as what that price-per-gallon will be for heating oil, Kloza says, "the burden of proof perhaps is on those that want to suggest that because I think that prices will be closer to four dollars a gallon than $3.70, which is where they have it."

Kloza says, ironically, people will likely see lower gasoline prices than they are accustomed to over the next five months. However, he advises heating oil consumers to watch those prices and stock up early if they can buy cheaper before the season.

The Fed says homes relying on electricity for heat, about 38 percent of the U.S., will likely pay nearly two percent more for heat, or about $18. Natural gas should average $11 per thousand cubic feet, the government said. That's $1.33 more than last year, but still below the nearly $13 per thousand cubic feet that homeowners paid in the winter of 2008-2009.

Mark Wolfe, Executive Director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, which advocates for heating assistance for low income families, worries that high heating oil prices, colder weather, and cuts in Federal heating assistance will leave more families vulnerable.