Households a Wild Card as Europe Moves to End Russian Gas Dependence

COLOGNE, Germany—A painful push by businesses to cut their natural-gas use is bringing Europe closer to its goal of weaning itself off Russian energy. Getting consumers to follow suit might prove more difficult.

Businesses, facing skyrocketing prices during a widening economic conflict running in parallel with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have ratcheted down their gas use in recent months. The reduction has exacted a significant economic cost, with slowing production at chemical plants and closed metals factories now widely expected to tip Europe into a recession.

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