The tail end of the heating season has not played out like it has in past years, when rising temperatures and dwindling demand has flattened out retail prices reliably around mid-February. Instead, propane customers got a little late-season volatility this year. A fire blazed up at the country’s largest propane hub, a supplier came up short on its contracts, and the uprisings in North Africa gave oil traders the jitters.
So there we were: Price increases well into March.
And one state that got it bad was Maine, where the average retail price for a gallon of propane went up almost a dime last Monday. But one week can make a big difference. This Monday, gallon prices dropped like your grandmother on Rollerblades: 12 cents down, according to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. That’s one of the biggest week-to-week declines we’ve seen in retail LPG, and it neatly erases the previous week’s sharp increase and then some. (The price is calculated from a survey of state dealers, based on a 600 gallon burn.)
The report from Maine should be a promising sign for propane customers around the country, suggesting a downswing that should carry through summer. That is, barring any more surprises on the natural gas liquids market.