Nebraska Propane Price Check: +10 Cents, Still the Low-Cost King

Fields of grain in Nebraska, where retail propane prices shot up a dime last week. (image: loungelistener via flickr.com)

It has not been an easy week for propane customers.

Precisely when retail prices should be descending into spring, the market took a turn. And no state got hit so hard on the retail side as Nebraska, according to this afternoon’s report from the state energy office.

The average retail price for a gallon of propane went up ten cents (or 6-percent) last week in the Cornhusker state. Meantime, wholesale propane went up 33 cents (or 26-percent). What’s curious is that Nebraska — the longtime home of the cheapest propane in the country — saw the biggest uptick in retail propane. In fact, Iowa came close to stealing the low-cost propane crown, but Nebraska narrowly remains the king.

Meantime, looking at the disparity between retail and wholesale prices, it’s clear that dealers are taking a hit on their margins (and this was true around the country, not just Nebraska). So in the coming week, when warmer weather and tapering demand should be softening retail prices, pressure from the wholesale side could keep them buoyed up.

Who wins this tug-of-war over prices? We’ll see when the new numbers come out next week. And as the ’90s grunge band, Stone Temple Pilots, once sang: “so much depends on the weather.”