Ag Dept. energy analyst predicts days of cheap propane are gone

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

An energy analyst with the Iowa Department of Agriculture is predicting higher prices for propane are here to stay. Harold Hommes says prices in Iowa have dropped dramatically since hitting the $5 a gallon level in late January, but Iowans should expect to pay more than they did last summer when the average price was around a dollar. “We’re not going to return to the prices we saw this past winter, we’re far from that, but I believe higher prices are here to stay in that market,” Hommes says.

Traditionally, domestic customers have held down values, according to Hommes, but the marketplace is evolving and producers now send the propane to places like Asia where they can make the most profit. “We now export about 400,000 barrels a day and that demand is likely going to continue for the foreseeable future. I don’t see that situation changing,” Hommes says.

This week’s survey places the average price per gallon of propane at two dollars and 59 cents ($2.59). About 15-percent of Iowa homes are heated with propane, mainly in rural areas.

(Radio Iowa)