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October 16, 2014

EIA launches expanded winter heating fuels data program for winter 2014-15

Graph of SHOPP coverage of weekly heating oil and propane prices, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Note: Weekly heating oil prices are collected in the states shown in dark blue and in the District of Columbia, but not in Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

EIA is expanding the State Heating Oil and Propane Program (SHOPP) this winter heating season. SHOPP is a joint effort between EIA and participating states to collect weekly residential heating oil and propane price data. The SHOPP program has traditionally included 24 states in the Northeast and Midwest regions, but the program was expanded after many other states expressed interest in the program following the winter of 2013-14.

Starting on October 16 and continuing through March 2015, EIA will publish propane prices for 14 new states—Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah—as well as aggregate propane prices for the U.S. Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain regions.

Adding these 14 states will increase SHOPP's coverage of households using propane as a heating fuel from 56% to 85%, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Unlike retail natural gas and electricity, which are both provided through utility companies, retail heating oil and propane are sold by independent dealers. Dealers and their customers face considerable supply and price uncertainty, such as during this past winter when extreme weather drove up demand for heating fuels, depleting inventories and increasing prices. SHOPP provides valuable information to customers, fuel providers, and state officials about market conditions.

To make this information more accessible, EIA also created a webpage that brings together all the state-level information on winter heating fuels. It displays weekly price data on heating oil and propane in the participating states along with natural gas and electricity prices and supply. Data on the webpage will be updated at 1:00 p.m. EDT today with the first weekly heating oil and propane prices for winter 2014-15, and weekly during the winter as data are released.

image of winter heating fuels page, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Principal contributors: Tammy Heppner, John Krohn, Shawna Waugh