Michigan is the king of residential propane consumption. The state burns more of the gas for home heating than California, or any of the other big Midwest propane consumers, like Illinois and Wisconsin.
But buying in bulk is not easing the burden on Michiganders’ wallets. Mirroring the national trend, the average retail price for a gallon of propane went up three cents last week to $2.24, according to the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC). And that’s 35 cents more a gallon than what the neighbors in Wisconsin were paying.
The local outlook doesn’t offer much relief. Forecasters expect a chillier Michigan winter than last year, which could boost demand and bump up prices. “The largest increases will be in No. 2 heating oil and propane,” says the Michigan PSC. And right on cue, the Great Lakes region was hit by a “monster blizzard” this week.
Michigan residents burned 373 million gallons of propane in 2009, down about six percent from 2008.
Propane prices have been on a tear lately, hitting a historic average high for the month of November. This fall, serious regional supply disruptions raised concerns about propane stocks. And oil prices, which are a consistent indicator of propane prices, have been on a steep upward trend lately.