To no one's surprise, we are all paying more to stay warm this winter, according to a recent report.  

(Konstantin Gushcha, ThinkStock)

A federal report predicts Americans will spend 10 percent more on average to heat with natural gas this harsh winter, and 7 percent more for oil. Eric De Gesero, president of the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey, says compounding the problem is the need for alternative fuels.

"The natural gas industry is not able to supply all of their customers when it's cold out," De Gesero said. "That further drives up the demand for the alternative fuels, such as oil or propane."

He said the higher costs should prompt homeowners to turn once again to higher efficiency, making sure their heater is tuned up and their dwelling is well insulated.

The production of natural gas in the United States hit record high production levels last year, spurred in large part by the huge ramping up of shale production both here and in Canada. Almost half the homes in the U.S. are heated by natural gas.