Prices are up for all kinds of fuel used for heating this winter. The DNR’s fuel-price analyst Jennifer Moehlman says both heating oil and propane are up slightly in the past week or so. Both heating oil and propane are up just slightly — for example, propane is two cents higher at about a dollar-three cents a gallon… but with the regional average at a dollar-25 a gallon, we’re getting a better deal than our neighbors. Heating oil’s up a penny, to a dollar-fifteen per gallon. Moehlman says prices for heating oil and propane were pushed up by increases in the cost of crude oil and natural gas. She says both of those go into the making of propane, so when their prices go up, it takes propane “along for the ride.” Natural gas is a different story — Moehlman says it’s up just about fifty percent just over the last 3 weeks. It’s 26-percent higher than last year, which was a high year for cost, though Moehlman says there’s a lot of volatility and the natural gas trading will largely depend on the weather. If weather’s colder than normal over the next couple weeks, Moehlman says that’ll tip the scales and prices will go up — but if it’s milder than normal, they may well go back down. Still, she’s sticking by the prediction made for this winter. Iowa consumers who use natural gas will probably pay 10 to 30-percent more for it this year. So far, analysts have not been able to explain most of this year’s jump in natural gas prices.
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