By STAN CHOE
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — With prices surging worldwide for heating oil, natural gas and other fuels, the U.S. government said Wednesday it expects households to see their heating bills jump as much as 54% compared to last winter. Nearly half the homes in the U.S. use natural gas for heat, and they could pay an average $746 this winter, 30% more than a year ago. This could be the most expensive winter for natural-gas heated homes since 2008-2009. A forecast for a colder winter means people will likely be burning more fuel to keep warm, on top of paying more for each bit of it.