Gas prices inched up just a bit this month in Iowa, to a dollar-29 for a gallon of self-serve regular unleaded. Jennifer Moehlman at the Department of Natural Resources says the increase is due to continued unease in the Middle East and the strike in Venezuela, normally one of our top suppliers. She sees no movement in the oil workers’ strike, and production’s severely curtailed, so not only are they not exporting gas, they’re importing it, drawing down supplies from what the US would import. Crude-oil market developments that affect the price of agas also affect home heating oil and propane. She says they’re both rising as well, and when crude goes up, so goes heating oil, and she adds propane’s also up in part because the weather’s colder. Moehlman says that’s why they encourage people to fill up in summer when prices are low. Moehlman cites a report from the Energy Information Administration. E.I.A. in its new monthly release estimates natural-gas residential consumers will pay about 31-percent more this year than last, which for an average homeowner will total about 200 dollars more during the heating season. Though it’s up from last year, Moehlman says that’s still far below the peak heating prices of two winters ago.
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