Experts discuss potential for high propane prices this winter

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – With prices reaching nearly four dollars a gallon last winter, residents who rely on propane may be dreading another possible season of high propane prices. However, Purdue Energy Economist Wally Tyner said so far the outlook is positive.

“We’re starting in a pretty good place this year,” Tyner said.

He said a shortage of propane caused prices to skyrocket, but propane supply has been building over the summer.

Tyner said the area is 20 percent higher in propane inventories than it was at this time last year, but another wet corn harvest and a cold winter could cause propane prices to rise.

“If we have the same double whammy that we had last year, this year, then we’ll have shortages again this year,” Tyner added.

Tyner said if there is a wet corn harvest farmers will need to use more propane to dry the corn, causing the propane supply to be lowered before winter begins.

Ceres Solutions Vice President of Energy Howard Jones said a wet harvest and a cold winter could impact supply, but as of now he said it’s too early to make a prediction.

“Currently, the inventories are higher than what they were last year, but we still have four to five weeks of building of the inventories,” said Tyner.

Although it still may be too early to tell, Jones said the best way to avoid paying more for propane this winter is to fill up now.

“Propane is typically cheaper in the summertime, so make sure tanks are filled,” said Jones.

“Everyone that relies on propane to heat, needs to keep their tanks full early on because prices are likely to rise if it turns out to be a cold winter,” said Tyner.

Jones said the company took extra steps this summer to try and keep propane in higher supply this winter.

“It’s just making sure we do a better job knowing where to pull from in the summer to make sure the allocation is there,” Jones said.

Jones said if there is a propane shortage, the company will continue to honor its customers contracts.

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