Michigan Price Check: Up a Quarter this Heating Season

Mirroring national trends, Michigan propane prices have marched higher this heating season. Above, the Traverse City depot. (image: Joseph A. via flickr.com)

Michigan is the biggest consumer of retail propane in the country. So does the Great Lakes State get a bulk discount? Not quite. Following the upswing around the country, Michigan propane prices have risen steadily since the heating season began.

The average retail price for a gallon of the gas was $2.32 at the start of 2011, a 25 cent increase since the beginning of October, according to the latest stats from the Michigan Public Service Commission. (The average cost increase around the country was 38 cents, according to federal data.)

Though the picture is rosier near Traverse City, where a pair of dealers told the local Record-Eagle this week they were selling below the state average. A manager with one of the suppliers added that more customers had joined a budget payment plan than in previous years.

Propane prices have made week-by-week gains this heating season, mirroring the increases in crude oil. Supply concerns in the Northeast have stymied steady prices, too.

Endnote: Michigan residents burned 372.6 gallons of propane in 2009. And 2010’s numbers were expected to be bigger, with a boost from chillier temperatures.

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