The latest state survey gauging fuel prices shows continued volatility in the market. Tami Foster, an “energy data analyst” for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says you’ve seen it in the price of gasoline. Foster says the activities in Iraq and Nigeria are having an effect on the market. Prices for gasoline are hovering around $2.10 to $2.20 per gallon.
“We’ll continue to probably see that for a little bit as long as the market is not impacted by further unrest or activities that could happen over in the Middle East,” she says. The survey found that a gallon of regular gasoline blended with ethanol was selling in Iowa for an average of $2.16. that’s 17 percent higher than this time last year. Those who drove around the state this past month saw a wide range of prices, though, with some stations offering gas in the past few weeks for less than two dollars per gallon.
Foster says that range isn’t surprising. “It’s all about the market and where you’re purchasing the gas. It’s competition. It depends upon supply and demand,” she says. “The price you’re paying for gas is the replacement cost of that gas, so if prices are going up it’s typically because crude oil is going up as well so it’s reflecting on the gas prices.” The average price for diesel in Iowa was $2.45 on February 15th and that is 23 percent higher than this time last year.
If there is a bright spot in the fuel picture, it’s the relatively warm winter that has helped Iowans who would have faced much bigger home heating bills if this had been a typically-chilly Iowa winter. Foster says if temperatures stay mild, then prices for home heating fuels will remain “somewhat stable.”
The state survey found the average price for propane was $1.49 a gallon on February 13th — four cents lower than the average price in mid-January. The average price for heating oil remained the same month-to-month, and natural gas prices were trending slightly lower than in January, although natural gas prices today are still 22 percent higher than the prices were at this time last year.