Iowans who heat their homes with liquid propane and producers who depend on it to warm their livestock facilities will be paying more for the fuel in the coming weeks. State Agriculture Department spokesperson Harold Hommes says this week’s figures show LP at $1.99 a gallon, an increase of more than 60 cents from October. “Since we’ve been tracking it, we haven’t had it higher. I think it’s a new record for propane in Iowa,” Hommes said.
The steep increase in prices is blamed on increased demand from both international and domestic markets. “Also, we had a really late harvest with some wet corn…throughout the Midwest,” Hommes said. “After that grain drying season, we never really had a chance to catch up, we kicked right into a pretty cold December.”
The late corn harvest forced farmers to use a lot of propane to dry the corn before placing the crop in storage. Hommes said he expects prices will begin to level out by March. Governor Branstad has issued three “hours of service” waivers for truck drivers transporting propane. That means drivers do not have to count the hours they sit in line at the terminal against the hours they are actually on the road.
Hommes said several truckers waited more than 8 hours last weekend at a supply depot in Des Moines.