“You know, in the U-S, we’re actually making more propane than we ever have before. So it’s not like we have a shortage of production. It’s just a combination of factors this year that have been kind of like the perfect storm,” Glassgow says.
The problem started in the fall, with a wet corn harvest. Combined with cold temperatures in the east and an increase in overseas exports, that’s put tremendous pressure on propane reserves. In response, the average price has jumped more than 60 percent, reaching $3.89 a gallon last week.
Steve Blakeman is the general manager of Blakeman Propane, which distributes the fuel in northeast Wyoming. He says the sudden and dramatic price increase has put him in the interesting position of telling people to buy less propane.
“If they can hold off, and they don’t really need that propane, then we’re going to let their tank levels drift down, and hopefully they’ll miss a lot of these higher prices,” Blakeman says.
Propane prices typically drop as temperatures rise in the spring, although it might take longer this year as inventories recover. According to industry data, almost 25,000, or roughly 12 percent, of households in Wyoming using propane for heating.