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Propane Price

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by Thomas Anderson, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    We had been discussing propane prices somewhere on here at some point a few months ago, and I mentioned that I paid somewhere around $2.50/gal in April and that I would post when I refilled again. I just paid $2/gal yesterday. It cost me around $150 to top up my tank. Apparently some people are paying way more than this? It's a wonder that these companies don't just drive the extra distance to get the much higher price, introducing more competition, which will bring the price down. I reckon there are some competition-limiting laws involved.

    According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average residential propane price was $2.41 per gallon (wholesale $0.95 per gallon) for the week ending November 19, 2012. This compares to the average residential heating oil price of $3.98 per gallon (wholesale $3.21 per gallon). Propane remains much cheaper (even with a much higher margin for fuel companies) than heating oil. It's also much cheaper than gasoline or diesel for generators.

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  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    We're between $3.50 & $4.00 per gallon. Round these parts, it stays about the same as a gallon of 87 Octane gas or a gallon of #3 Heating Oil...
  3. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

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    It's been a couple weeks since I saw the posted price of 1.18 per gallon, I think it was 2 weeks before Thanksgiving
  4. FanMan

    FanMan Feeling the Heat

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    CT stix & upstate NY
    I paid $2.39 last month. Around here the price varies according to how much you use... $2.39 is the "heating price", it's considerably more if you use it only in small amounts for cooking or such.
  5. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Arrow Bridge,NY
    Locked in at $1.69 in August. Haven't checked since.I'm sure it's higher now.
  6. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    If suppliers in Bob's neck of the woods aren't paying some super-high tax rate or absurd compliance costs or something, they're making around 300% profit, minus other employee/truck/etc expenses. I wonder why nobody is arbitraging that.
  7. 49er

    49er Member

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    Los Gatos, CA
    We paid $3.93 last February and $3.03 in September and I thought that was a good deal.:confused:
  8. Deron

    Deron Member

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    Northern Kentucky
    $1.89
  9. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Propane is only about 95000 btus per gal. Fuel oil around 130000, gasoline 115000
    Thomas Anderson likes this.
  10. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    Yeah, I really don't understand how propane prices can be that high. I haven't looked at the numbers, but I imagine that resistance electric heat is cheaper than propane once propane gets up around $3. It makes heating oil seem like an outright bargain.
  11. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    I think we paid between 2.50 and 2.80 a gallon to fill our 100 pounders a few weeks back. Haven't looked recently...
  12. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    Yeah, it's important to consider the price per BTU. In my neck of the woods, propane wins hands down (unless you've got natural gas, which is around 1.8 cents / MBTU).

    $2 / 95 MBTU = 2.1 cents / MBTU propane.
    $3.5 / 115 MBTU = 3.0 cents / MBTU gasoline.
    $4 / 130 MBTU = 3.1 cents / MBTU diesel/fuel oil.

    If you're paying $3 for propane, it's roughly on par with fuel oil at $4. At least on a per BTU basis as used in a furnace or water heater. Propane may be considered more valuable still because it's more flexible -- e.g. it can also power a cook stove, fireplace, or clothes dryer. Even a refrigerator. It also can't spill. And it runs generators more cleanly and reliably. So it's probably worth it to be paying somewhat more for propane if you utilize anything other than a furnace or water heater. Thankfully, in most places, propane is both better AND cheaper as well!

    Also, at 0.29 kWh / MBTU, the average residential delivered price per kWh of 13 cents gives 3.8 cents / MBTU for grid electric, but maybe as low as 2.6 cents / MBTU if you live in one of the few places that costs as little as 9 cents / kWh. However, electric heat is nearly 100% efficient, so may be significantly cheaper than an old oil or gas furnace. And even better than 100% efficient if you have a heat pump. That is, if you should happen to be on the grid, which my home is not. And solar photovoltaic electricity is too valuable to be wasted on heating (although when my wind turbine is going strong, I sometimes run a small space heater).

    The cheapest cost per BTU remains solar thermal (virtually free after any up-front equipment cost, which is cheap) or passive solar (totally free with the right home design), but is not consistently available on demand. But with solar as my primary and propane as my secondary/backup (plus my wood stove), my costs are pretty well contained.

    At my wife's business this year, we are using quartz infrared electric heaters and keeping the oil thermostat set way low. So far, this has already paid for the two $99 units (occasional sales price at http://www.northerntool.com) through oil savings. Everyone is very comfortable with the heat they produce.
  13. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    In my area there are a couple co-ops that you can get real good prices from if you own your own tank. They use a formula that is based on usage and a few other things to determine the price, but if you use enough, the cost is well under $2/gallon. At that price, I'd burn propane over pellets. Problem is the inefficient oil system I inherited when we got this place.

    I just use propane for cooking, so I wait until it is almost empty, put the tank in the truck, and take it to the local filling station. Otherwise, it costs over $4/gallon delivered.
  14. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    $1.59 last week.
  15. schlot

    schlot Minister of Fire

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    Iowa
    Related to some cost comparison, here is something I found. With corn prices pushing $8, and higher propane prices his final conclusions aren't too valid, but it's an interesting read.

    http://www.increa.com/homeheat/index.htm
  16. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Are you sure about that? NYSERDA has $2.87/gal for propane in Capital District and $4.06/gal for heating fuel. This still make propane more expensive than oil on a mbtu basis: 29.27 for oil vs 31.46 for propane. Maybe cheaper than oil when factoring in efficiencies and maintenance.
  17. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    I could be off by a little. To be honest, since we started burning pellets full time I don't even look at the oil (DHW downstairs) & LP (DHW Upstairs & the two Hng units) delivery slips too often. I'm thinkin we should be about due for an LP fill & I think Main Care made a drop yesterday, but didn't leave a slip because their driver trashed our mailbox. If there's a slip there today, I'll call them when I get home, because this is the 2nd time they've hit the damn thing. First time a couple of deck screws took care of the damage. THIS time I had to dig a freekin hole...
  18. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I've never really lived on a travelled road before, and as little traffic as there is on my road, my mailbox got whacked a couple times. I think the snow plow hit it once. One time somebody tried to blow it up with a firecracker, but it didn't do much damage. The post is leaning, so if it doesn't get wiped out this winter, I'll have to renew or replace it next year.

    Sorry for the hijack. This is a good reminder, since I haven't looked at my lp tank (for cooking) for quite a while. Main comes by when I call them now since I put in the driveway gate-just as well, caused we paved it a few years ago and who needs big trucks turning around (I dread the big septic truck.)
  19. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

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    I just rode pst the one supplier (I had mentioned earlier in this tread) and the price per gallon of LP today is $1.13!!! Makes you think a bit more about heading out to the woodpile now, doesn't it??
  20. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I don't get it. Our state energy office says that propane price tracks oil. Maybe in NY anyway. :)
  21. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    I will DEFINITELY find out this weekend. I went out to check my gages & they're BOTH at less than 10%...So I called to let them know...We're on a budget plan & don't use the LP a lot. I guess maybe they weren't the bad guys who trashed our mailbox yesterday...But then again, the mailbox was smashed TOWARDS the house & that means somebody got it on the way in. Maybe they trashed it & bailed so I wouldn't know it was them...
  22. Stegman

    Stegman Feeling the Heat

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    After buying my own 120 gallon tank this summer, I paid $2.50 a gallon to fill it - more than $1 less per gallon than I had been paying previously when I leased a tank. That's the dirty little secret of the propane companies - lease a tank, get locked into high prices because they've got you by the nads. I learned that lesson from others on here. Otherwise I would have had no idea. Thanks gang!
  23. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Finally. Got an email telling us that we had a drop last Saturday. Price: $2.429/gal...
    Cheaper than I thought...My bad...
  24. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Cape Vincent, NY
    Had a delivery in early November, 15.5 gallons cost $72.95 including taxes and delivery. I removed an operating propane water heater and replaced it with electric because of the cost.
  25. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    I have one hot water tank that runs on electric & one on LP. The LP company doesn't know about the HW, so I get charged the price for heating. If I was only using it for hot water or cooking, the price would be higher. The problem with the electric is the freekin bacteria that seem to propagate in the tank once the H2O heats up. Everybody in my neighborhood has this issue from the well water. Once every two months, I have to shut it down, drain about a quart out of it & dump a pint of Hydrogen Peroxide into it. Kills the bacteria & we're good for another 2 months...Thinking about switching to an electric tankless (On-Demand) HW for that unit...

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