Prices at five-year high
3:52 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Propane Supply Under Pressure

With the cold winter we’ve been having, those heating with propane may be wincing at the cost of filling a tank.  Prices this winter are up more than 60 cents since this time last year.

Propane prices are up, and supply is under pressure.
Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/59641171@N08/5468335363/in/photostream/

A gallon of propane in Wisconsin right now costs an average of $2.15, according to the US Energy Information Administration.  Last January, that price was closer to a dollar fifty.

Part of that spike is due to high customer usage during this winter’s cold temperatures.  Tiana Schroeder is a supervisor at Amerigas Propane in Rhinelander, where crews are working extra hours and the phone is ringing off the hook. 

“We ourselves are getting propane in from three states away.  Because the demand in this area is so heavy that it’s difficult to get from our local terminals where we generally get it from.” 

Local demand isn’t the only issue.  Brandon Scholz, Managing Director of Wisconsin Propane Gas Association, says the supply has been squeezed since last fall: when a long growing season in the western US put a strain on inventories nationwide. 

“And there were interruptions in the harvest due to weather, crops were wet when they came out of the field and they were put in dryers.  Those dyers are obviously fueled by propane fuel.  So there was a big demand, and for an extended period of time.”

To help meet consumer demand, Governor Scott Walker has declared exemptions for propane truck drivers, allowing them to work extra hours to deliver more propane.

Wisconsin prices are currently the highest they’ve been since 2008, when residential propane hit more than $2.30 a gallon.