Extremely cold temperatures have brought on a propane shortage due to higher home and business heating needs. With the shortage, comes record-high prices that are leaving many homeowners in a lurch.
“Typically there's a normal amount of usage that people plan for during a season and a lot of companies and homes that use propane are locked into a price for a certain amount of gallons,” explains Dave Wood of Smitty's Lawn & Garden in Olathe, KS, and a stakeholder in a company called Tech Services Incorporated. “Once you've gone through those gallons you open yourself up to the open market. Right now the open market is not where you want to be.”
Many dealers have taken on propane products or conversion kits. An increasing number of contractors have chosen propane equipment for the operational cost savings. In the seasonal areas of the country where contractors perform lawn maintenance in the spring through fall, Wood says the propane prices should level out before the contractors start cutting.
“Similar to in the winter time when people don't drive as much, the price of gasoline goes down. In the summertime when more driving happens, the price goes up,” explains Wood. “Propane is typically priced lower in the summer months because the usage of propane, historically speaking, has always been used for heating. In the summertime when most of the contractors and landscapers are using propane, it is at its lowest price.”
Wood did explain that dealers who offer propane on-site, and contractors who operate will a full-propane fleet, could feel some of the impact of higher pricing when getting tanks filled ahead of the spring season. Overall, pricing levels should come down this spring and summer.