An energy analyst with the Iowa Department of Agriculture is predicting higher prices for propane are here to stay. Harold Hommes says prices in Iowa have dropped dramatically since hitting the $5-a-gallon level in late January, but Iowans should expect to pay more than they did last summer when the average price was around a dollar. “We’re not going to return to the prices we saw this past winter, we’re far from that, but I believe higher prices are here to stay in that market,” Hommes says.
Traditionally, domestic customers have held down values, according to Hommes, but the marketplace is evolving and producers now send the propane to places like Asia where they can make the most profit. “We now export about 400,000 barrels a day and that demand is likely going to continue for the foreseeable future. I don’t see that situation changing,” Hommes says.
The most recent survey places the average price of propane in Iowa at $2.59 a gallon. About 15-percent of Iowa homes are heated with propane, mainly in rural areas.