Propane-barbecueFall arrived earlier today and a state fuels analyst says Iowans who heat their homes with propane are going to be in good financial shape for the cold weather months that lie ahead. Harold Hommes with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says the price of propane is continuing to drop.

Hommes says, “Prices have been steadily coming down for actually the whole past year, certainly from the beginning of the last heating season which really started the build process in inventory earlier this year, way back in mid-February.”

Inventories don’t usually start building back up until March or April. Prices in Iowa are now averaging 96 cents a gallon, down 40 to 50 cents from a year ago, though he doubts the price will drop much further.

“I look for it to flatten from here on out,” Hommes says. “We’re getting a little bit close to the heating season where you’re going to start to see that demand pull and provide at least some soft support for prices. I don’t look for them to retreat a whole lot further from these current levels.” He predicts propane prices may rise a bit in the coming months but won’t get much over a dollar a gallon.

The steady drop in propane prices is very welcome news for Iowa’s farmers and livestock producers. “The cost savings to the ag community for certainly grain drying and many producers use it to heat swine, turkey, egg-laying facilities and use for home heating is still one of the larger uses,” he says.

About 183,000 Iowans heat their homes with LP. The current average of 96 cents a gallon statewide is a far cry from prices seen during January of 2014 when record high prices were hit above $5 a gallon.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)