Oskaloosa.com

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

January 24, 2014

Propane prices spike consumers, suppliers

OTTUMWA — You know it’s a bad sign when the state comes out with a press release with a dire warning one day and it has been surpassed within 48 hours.

Propane prices are spiking at what Iowa officials have called an “unprecedented” pace. Prices in October were about $1.52 per gallon. It was up to $1.99 by mid-January.

It’s over $4 per gallon now and is still rising.

The massive jump in prices is being blamed on supply issues related to getting the propane to the Midwest. There are questions though about whether it’s really a shortage and, if it is, what is causing it.

Doug Dick, who sells propane locally for Hamilton Produce, doesn’t buy the claim that the situation is entirely due to shipping issues.

“We’re getting ripped off, quite frankly,” he said. “There’s obviously a shortage of supply.”

The issues began well before the spike. Midwestern crops were late after a very wet spring. While Iowa dried out over the summer, adjacent states didn’t. That raised demand for propane to run driers for the crops. One Minnesota supplier told Dick he was running heating supplies all day and propane for agricultural use all night just to keep up.

There was no letup after the fall as Iowa plunged into a cold winter. But Dick sees more at work than just the weather.

“The big thing is we’ve gotten really good at exporting propane in the United States,” he said. Dick thinks that is a major part of the crisis.

For Jerry McKim the spike has been disastrous. He runs the state’s low-income home energy assistance program, better known as LIHEAP. The program still tries to help people, but the price spike has gutted its buying power.

“We had a minimum benefit for fuel delivery customers. That was $500,” he said. “At $1.75 per gallon that might have gotten them a fair amount of propane. Now $500 won’t even come close to the minimum delivery amount. Our buying power has been diminished significantly.”

Text Only
CNHI/Southeast Iowa
  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Construction Trades pic 1 Marion County building permits on the rise

    It's expected to be a busy construction season around Marion County. According to County Zoning Administrator Missy Poffenbarger, her office has issued 17 building permits since March 18. 

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Life and Times cover.tiff Life and Times

    Click here to go to the new Life and Times e-magazine.

    May 30, 2012 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 14, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

Obituaries
Oskaloosa Shopper
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Photo reprints