For an unsettling glimpse of the last week in propane, here is a line graph tracking the steep rise in wholesale prices as of Monday. That’s a 28.5-cent increase per gallon, or about 20-percent, in a week.
So right around the time wholesale prices settled down last year, they made some sharp gains this year. (What happened? We hashed out some of the reasons yesterday.) Anyhow, prices on the wholesale side are at a three-year high and flirting with the record, according to federal data.
Meantime, the price spike hasn’t trickled down to the retail propane yet, but we’re guessing they will before the furnaces go cold for the winter. So heading into the last four weeks of the heating season, some competing forces will be playing with residential prices: this wholesale spike pushing them up, while the slack in demand and warm weather coaxing them down.
Who wins this price battle? We should have some idea next week.