Propane Prices, Real

I set out on my annual quest to purchase propane for heat mid-week last week. We don't use just propane, we also burn wood, so our propane demand isn't astronomical. Still, I try to get a deal where I can.

First, I checked in with EIA for their weekly propane prices for Michigan: here https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=W_EPLLPA_PRS_SMI_DPG&f=W

But of course, rather unhelpfully, these prices are delayed by a unhelpful 6 months or so. But they are also confusing, because it says prices for most of the year up to March were over $2 per gallon. No way.  That chart from the link above says "Weekly Michigan Propane Residential Price". 

Then I looked up this chart: https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=W_EPLLPA_PWR_NUS_DPG&f=W which is wholesale/retail price, whatever the heck that means. (isn't it either wholesale OR retail?) This one says $0.88 per gallon. Again, we're talking about March.

(Why are we talking about March??)

Anyway, I did a mad hrmpf and set off to find my own prices.

I called eight places, and will leave out the names of the companies I called.

Company A   $1.59 autofill, $1.69 will call. $1.79 price cap protection (+fee). $1.849 prebuy. first 100 gallons free (new customers)

Company B $1.59, auto/will call/prebuy

Company C $1.49 will call

Company D $1.34 will call. $1.598 prebuy $1.748 price cap protection (+fee).  $1.198 for first fill, and wave price cap fee

Company E $1.599 will call/auto

Company F $1.3999 first fill. $1.59 subsequent fills until April 2019, no fee.

Company G $1.599 prebuy/will call/auto fill

my current company $1.899/will call

BOO hiss for my current company, who I'm kicking to the curb. Going with Company F as Company D decided our driveway was too much trouble. Interestingly enough, they said the soonest they could be out was the 24th. Didn't expect them to be busy.

Company G told me that the price went up today, by the way. 

Anyone else have some price information for heating oil/propane they'd like to share?

Anyone have some better (more timely) links to current pricing information? 

When did the companies buy this propane they are selling to me now (last summer contract? more recently?) In other words, what wholesale price did they get what they're selling to me now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Rodent said:

I set out on my annual quest to purchase propane for heat mid-week last week. We don't use just propane, we also burn wood, so our propane demand isn't astronomical. Still, I try to get a deal where I can.

 

You typically will get better pricing if you own your own propane tank.  Some companies demand to do a pre-filling "inspection" to determine your tank is safe; some companies will refuse to fill tanks that are owned or leased from competitors.  I save roughly $1 per gallon by buying my own tank for $600.  Plus, I can buy on the spot price market from anyone  (that delivers in my service area).  Fortunately, my current supplier has their terminal only five miles down the road, gives me the best price, and I have a great relationship with the owneress  [women love me, must be my handsome good looks and dashing personality, who knows].  She unfailingly gets the truck out here on my will-call basis.  I suspect each geographical area has its own quirks. 

Propane you are buying today is bought by your dealer within the last two months (this being summer).  IN winter, the dwell time for dealer propane might be as little as one week.  Locally, the railroad stores a large string of propane tankers out on a siding for ready access during the cold snaps. Unclear who actually owns it; probably the vendor to the distributors.  

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Sounds like Company G has gotten tired of the business and wants out. I think I heard it's to be a cold one this year. 

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