When this week’s numbers came out from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), we were eagerly watching to see if propane prices would show signs of flattening out. But no such luck. Amid the nasty weather — a blizzard hit the East Coast on Wednesday, the same day the EIA issues its weekly report — the average gallon price ticked up a penny and a half around the country. And the late-season price plateau put off its arrival for another week.
Except in Nebraska.
Last week, the average retail price for a gallon of propane went up one-tenth of a penny in the Cornhusker State, according to today’s report from the energy office in Lincoln. So we’ll round that down to zero, and call it a Great Plains plateau. Prices in South Dakota and Iowa only moved a half-penny, too. Though once again, Nebraska was cheaper than either state, keeping its crown as the low-cost propane king of the country.
These flat prices show some signs of persisting. Nebraska’s wholesale propane dropped a healthy four cents per gallon last week, and the regional stockpile ended January with more propane than it has had in three years. Of course, weather can thwart the best indications, and the brutal cold this week — the town of Chadron recorded a temperature of minus-27 — could goose demand (and prices).
So let us end the week with one certainty. Whichever way propane goes in Nebraska, whether it stays flat or rises, sure as sugar on a Christmas cookie it will still have the cheapest posted prices in the land.