A mild start to this winter’s heating season caused U.S. propane prices to decline from the highest starting prices for a heating season since 2014. The wholesale propane price at the U.S. benchmark at Mont Belvieu, Texas, reached $1.51 per gallon (gal) on October 5, 2021, and has since declined to $1.30/gal as of January 31, 2022.
During October 2021, the wholesale propane price at Mont Belvieu was the highest since February 2014. Propane prices have fallen since October 2021 because warmer-than-normal weather in October through December resulted in less propane consumption for space heating in the residential and commercial sectors.
Trends in international markets have also influenced U.S. propane exports and wholesale propane prices. During the first 11 months of 2021 (the most recent monthly data available), U.S. propane exports averaged 1.3 million barrels per day, the highest export level for the first 11 months of any year since 2004, when we began tracking propane exports.
Global demand for propane has risen because of its increased use as a petrochemical feedstock. Propane can be processed into various plastic and resin products. Global demand for U.S. propane has remained steady despite higher U.S. prices because international prices for propane and other feedstocks have also increased.
Principal contributor: Josh Eiermann