Propane prices during the first month of the current winter heating season (October–March) are essentially unchanged compared with prices at the same time last winter. The U.S. residential price of propane averaged $2.66 per gallon (gal) in October 2022, the same as the average price in October 2021, according to our Heating Oil and Propane Update (HOPU).
As of October 31, the U.S. residential price of propane averaged $2.67/gal, down 6 cents from the previous year. Last winter, strong winter heating consumption and increased global demand for propane contributed to low U.S. propane inventories and high propane prices. This year, propane inventories are higher, but the retail prices remain similar to last October. As of November 4, U.S. propane inventories were 14% higher, at a total of 87.7 million barrels, compared with the same week in 2021, according to our Weekly Petroleum Status Report.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey, propane is the primary home heating fuel in 5% of U.S. homes and tends to be more common in the Northeast and Midwest. At least 13% of homes in Vermont, New Hampshire, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Montana use propane as the primary heating fuel.
In the latest update of our Winter Fuels Outlook forecast, we expect households that use propane as their primary source of heating fuel will pay about the same amount for heating this winter compared with last winter. Propane prices are generally highest in New England and lowest in the Midwest.
The HOPU is published as part of the State Heating Oil and Propane Program (SHOPP), a joint effort between EIA and several states where heating oil and propane use is common to collect state-level residential heating oil and propane price data from October through March. SHOPP collects residential heating oil and propane prices for 21 states. In 18 additional states, SHOPP collects only propane prices, and in the District of Columbia, SHOPP collects only heating oil prices.
The HOPU also publishes wholesale heating oil and propane prices for 26 states. We publish price data in the HOPU each Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. eastern time from the first week of October through the last week of March on the Winter Heating Fuels and Heating Oil and Propane Update web pages, as well as in a weekly Winter Propane Market Update supplement.
Principal contributors: Marcela Bradbury, Matthew French