The average wholesale propane price on January 24, 2005, decreased a penny from last week to 79 cents per gallon. This price was 7 percent higher than the price last year at this time (see the table at the end of this report). The graph below shows the spread in Nebraska prices from month to month and from this year compared to previous years. Other states in the Midwest region had comparable wholesale prices ranging from 79 to 84 cents per gallon with the region averaging 82 cents. States adjacent to Nebraska, such as Kansas, South Dakota, Iowa, and Missouri, had prices of 83, 80, 80, and 79 cents, respectively.
With 15.2 million barrels, the Midwest region inventory level was in the normal range for this time of year. Inventories appear to be adequate for the remainder of the heating season, particularly in the Midwest, where the largest concentrations of propane heating customers are located. If Midwest inventories follow 5-year average trends for the remainder of the heating season, inventories would end the heating season in March at about 9.8 million barrels. This level would be above the 5-year average level of 8.7 million barrels. The Energy Information Administration projected that inventories would remain above recent year lows even if the region were to experience sustained frigid temperatures lasting several weeks. The year 2001 had the most recent low with 6.1 million barrels at the end of March.
Note: The annual report for the 2003-2004 winter season is available.
The Oil Price Information Service collects wholesale propane prices each week for Nebraska and ten (10) other states in the Midwest Region during the heating season (October to March). The Energy Information Administration, the independent statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy, uses the prices collected by the Oil Price Information Service to calculate a state average price, a regional average price, and a national average price which can be seen in the report Wholesale Propane Prices by Region and State.
Prices are not collected during the off season (April through September).
For statistical purposes, the Energy Information Administration defines the Midwest region to include the states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.