National Propane Price Trend: -2 Cents as the Heating Season Flickers Out

The sun sets on Iowa. And on the EIA's propane price reports for the heating season. (image: ZTS Photo via flickr.com)

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) just put out its final word on propane prices for the heating season, and that word is: DOWN. The average retail price for a gallon of LPG slipped a little over two pennies (or 0.8-percent) around the country on Monday. Residential propane now sits at its highest price (by more than 20 cents) this close to spring. But after the flurry of late-season price volatility, it’s still a welcome decline for customers phoning in a fill-up today.

The drop on the retail side was outpaced by wholesale prices, which fell more than a nickel a gallon on average — giving up more than a quarter since they skyrocketed at the end of February.

Also, worth noting in the numbers: Nebraska. After a huge upset last week, in which Iowa beat out Nebraska as the low-cost propane king, the Cornhusker State has rallied back. Nebraska reclaimed the crown with a two-penny decline in retail propane on Monday.

Today’s report is the EIA’s last round-up for the 2010-11 heating season. Thanks for the numbers, guys. See you in October.

Meantime, judging by the history books, the momentum of this week’s dip should continue through the spring, as propane prices ease into the warmer weather. The last few weeks have thrown up some unexpected hurdles, sure, but spot prices at the national hubs look like they’re settling down and the national inventory is on the rebound.

So a word of advice to that customer phoning in a fill-up: Put if off for a few more weeks.

FRIDAY POST-SCRIPT: How much momentum is behind the down trend? Spot prices rose all week at the big propane hub in Texas.

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