Propane Costs this Winter will Trend Upwards
Propane experts expect higher winter prices because of a cold winter forecast and propane tariffs. Last year, propane prices projections appeared to trend downwards because of a surplus in propane that reached a 13 year low. Unfortunately, the pendulum is going to swing in the other direction within the next few months.
Right now, Kauffman Gas is seeing propane prices range from $1.70 – $1.90. However, our gut says that we will see pricing increase as we settle into the cold weather.
Factors that will lead to Higher Propane Prices
Anticipated frigid winter
This past winter was reasonably mild, however this winter season will have a dramatic temperature shift. According to AccuWeather, La Niña, which is known as the cooler version of El Niño, will cause cooler weather for Pennsylvania and other East Coast states.
Coming late fall and early winter, La Nina strengthens the northern jet stream while the southern jet stream is depleted. The East Coast in the second half of the winter season could see significant snowfall.
That means propane usage is going to go up, and so will the prices.
US is exporting more propane than producing
In a few short years, the United States has jumped to the top as the world’s largest exporter of propane. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency back in 2009, 110,000 barrels a day were being shipped off to the rest of world.
The number has catapulted to 600,000 barrels a day as of November 2015. Propane production continued to climb up to 884,000 barrels a day in February but that number began to taper off and eventually drop. The prices overseas buyers are dealing with have forced propane prices in the United States to steadily rise.
Crude Oil prices will rise
Since propane is a byproduct of crude oil and natural gas production, crude oil has a major influence on propane prices. As crude oil prices increase and decrease over time, propane follow suit. The overabundance of crude oil shouldn’t change for the rest of this year. Crude oil prices will jump to $50.58 dollars per barrel in 2017 compared to $41.92 per barrel this year. What does this mean? Prices for crude oil will go, and so will propane prices.
What This mean for Pennsylvania & Delaware Propane Residents
Pennsylvania & Delaware prices are still generally higher in comparison to the national average. Keystone State propane cost is $2.72 per gallon while US average is $2.016.
As demand for propane increases in the Winter season, supply will grow tighter and prices will rise.
Residential propane prices are not regulated, so it is difficult to nail down the price ranges. It is important to remember propane does remain cheaper than electricity or fuel oil.
Energy Saving Tips
You can help ease the pain of rising propane prices by making some energy efficiency improvements in your home.
- Change your furnace filter every month
- Cut down on drafts with weather-stripping and caulking around doors and windows
- Turn down your water heater to 130 degrees (140 is standard temperature)
- Monitor your oven door seal. If there are any tears, heat is let out which is a big energy waster
Prices are On the Up-and-Up This Winter Season
As we enter into lower temperatures, remember to keep these propane price factors in the back of your mind. The wide range of elements that affect propane prices is staggering, so it’s important to use your propane wisely.