The propane for that gas grill is another one of the power sources that will cost you more this summer. Jennifer Moehlman, a fuel-price analyst with the Department of Natural Resources. says the DNR’s most recent survey, done in mid-May, found the price of propane up ten-percent from last year at this time, $1.02 a gallon compared with last year’s 93-cents, because of the higher price of both crude oil and natural gas. The price of propane probably won’t quench any cookouts this summer. Moehlman says the canister you get for the gas grill is not a big part of the propane market. Here in Iowa, propane’s used more for heating than for cooking, vehicle propulsion or anything else — and about eight to 10-percent of Iowans use propane for home heating, which means prices will be most volatile in winter. Propane’s linked equally to prices of crude-oil and natural gas, since it can be refined from either of those, so Moehlman says when crude oil’s high, propane is high…and when the price of natural gas is high, propane also is higher in cost. She says it “sort of gets a double whammy,” and in winter when it’s used for home heating the same supply-and-demand complex affecting crude oil, natural gas and gasoline also affects the price of propane as well. On world markets, analysts say the dollar’s weakness right now is one reason for the high price of crude oil, which lately has exceeded the target price OPEC producers set.
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