The prices for home heating oil and propane are rising, partly because distributors have begun to make bulk purchases.

“For when consumers start making those fall purchases and orders to get their tanks filled for either grain drying or for home heating oil for the winter, those usually come a bit later,” says Harold Hommes, marketing bureau chief for the Iowa Department of Agriculture, “but distributors, to get it here and have it placed, their buying time is now.”

Propane was selling for the average price of $1.43 a gallon last week, up about eight cents a gallon. Home heating oil was selling for $3.51 a gallon, up seven cents a gallon. Hommes says those kinds of price increases are typical this time of year.

“Now last year was one of probably the few years we really didn’t see that price bump and a chase on supply in August and September, but historically it is a very typical time frame, especially on the distributor side,” Hommes says. “They need to have fuels in place for when consumers start making those falls purchases and orders to get their tanks filled.”

The heating systems in the majority of Iowa homes and businesses are fueled by natural gas, however about 25 percent of homes and businesses in the state use heating oil and propane. Hommes says most are in rural areas of the state where natural gas lines aren’t accessible.