Midseason Price Check: Propane Up a Quarter Over Last Year

U.S. retail propane prices have consistently hovered a quarter higher than last year's prices. (image: zomie84 via flickr.com)

$2.52.

That was the average retail price for a gallon of propane around the country for the first half of this heating season, according to the last government numbers of the year.

But if you’re paying more, no angry phone calls to your propane dealer just yet. There are a list of factors that affect your bill: how much you burn, how far the propane has to travel to get to your tank, whether or not you’re married to a propane dealer. So saying the national average is $2.52 is a bit like saying the national average temperature right now is 38 degrees — it’s probably not 38 degrees where you are.

Though worth noting in this report: The latest wholesale prices. The average wholesale price for a gallon of propane just caught last year’s price ($1.417 a gallon, compared to $1.422 a gallon at this time last year). But retail prices have stayed consistently one quarter higher than last heating season. That means dealers have been collecting a sweeter “rack-to-retail” margin. And it suggests that transportation costs are higher this year, too.

As for last week’s average retail prices, the East Coast was at $3.24 a gallon, up four cents. The Midwest was at $2.08, up two cents. And Nebraska pays the least of all the states that report.

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