It was an up and down week.
On Monday, Maine gave us a promising sign. While we were still waiting for the first thaw of this nasty winter — which could be Monday in New York! — retail propane dropped two cents a gallon. If propane was sliding way up north, it looked like price relief could arrive shortly for the rest of us.
On Tuesday, a series of explosions sparked a fire at a storage facility in Mont Belvieu, Texas, grabbing headlines. A worker was tragically killed in the ensuing blaze, and production was suspended on at least one gas cracker. But now that the smoke has cleared, business at the propane hub continues. Spot prices have held flat through the end of the week; butane has been up a nickel since the disruption.
On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) posted a penny increase in the average gallon price. With prices rising into a second week of February, we’re going to pin it on the historically cold weather that has ceaselessly chilled the country. It was the tiniest increase of the heating season.
After such an up-and-down week, it’s nice to see that Nebraska is right where we left it: still the home of low-cost propane. Retail prices dropped a half-cent a gallon this week, according to today’s report from the state energy office. The Cornhusker State anchored a slide around the Great Plains, as the Dakotas both posted declines, and Iowa’s prices were flat.
We’re hoping the trend is contagious.