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Today in Energy

October 26, 2020

Residential propane prices so far this winter are similar to last winter’s prices

U.S. weekly residential propane prices
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Heating Oil and Propane Update

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Heating Oil and Propane Update (HOPU), propane prices during the first two weeks of the current winter heating season (October 1 through March 31) were 4% lower than during the same time last winter. Lower residential propane prices are the result of inventories that are near the high-end of the five-year (2015–2019) average and a decrease in crude oil prices since last year at this time.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey, propane is the primary home heating fuel in 5% of U.S. homes and tends to be more common in the Northeast and Midwest. At least 14% of homes in Vermont, New Hampshire, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana use propane as their primary heating fuel.

In its Winter Fuels Outlook, EIA expects households that use propane as their primary source of heating fuel to spend 14% more on average for heating this winter compared with last winter because EIA expects higher propane prices and more demand for space heating. Propane prices are generally highest in the New England region (Petroleum Administration for Defense District, or PADD, 1A) and lowest in the Midwest (PADD 2). Of the states surveyed in HOPU, residential propane prices ranged from $1.09 per gallon (gal) in Nebraska to $3.75/gal in Florida as of October 19.

propane as primary home heating fuel by state
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2019

HOPU is published as part of the State Heating Oil and Propane Program (SHOPP), a joint effort between EIA and several state energy offices to collect state-level residential heating oil and propane price data from October through March in states where heating oil and propane use is common.

SHOPP collects residential heating oil and propane prices for 21 states. In 18 additional states, only propane prices are collected; in the District of Columbia, only heating oil prices are collected. SHOPP also provides wholesale heating oil prices for 25 states and propane prices for 23 states.

EIA publishes weekly SHOPP price data each Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the Winter Heating Fuels and Heating Oil and Propane Update web pages.

Principal contributor: Marcela Bradbury