Rhode Island Price Check: +16 Cents Last Week

Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island and smoker of peace pipes. (image: Finance Museum via flickr.com)

Rhode Island is a tiny state, and a tiny propane customer, too.

In a 2008 survey, the Ocean State was the second smallest consumer of the fuel, beating out only Alaska, and not by much. Even Hawaii burns more propane than Rhode Island. (No joke: some hotels use it to power tiki torches.)

Despite the small appetite, for several weeks this heating season, Little Rhody has posted some of the highest retail propane prices in the country. New Jersey currently has the title of costliest propane, after steep increases at the end of December. But Rhode Island has started the year with some significant gains.

Rhode Island’s retail propane prices went up 16 cents, or five-percent, in the second week of the year, according to a survey of 44 dealers conducted by the state’s office of energy resources. Inverting the trend around the country, propane in the state costs more than heating oil.

Though the price increases surely fit the national story — retail propane is up 17-percent over the course of the heating season, according to federal data. The gas is selling for about a dime above last year’s prices, on average, following the rises in crude oil with an added boost from strong seasonal demand.

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