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Old 01-03-2014, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Park County
20 posts, read 46,338 times
Reputation: 45

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If there is a recent thread on this topic, please let me know as I didn't find anything. I spoke to Glaser Gas (Divide center) today, propane was at $2.49 and the nice lady said this was historically on the high side. Does anyone have any logged information of the seasonal prices, or a good memory? I am interested to know what the high and low prices have been the past couple of years for the winter months, and during the summer months. Thank you.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:51 AM
 
599 posts, read 835,622 times
Reputation: 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTBamap View Post
If there is a recent thread on this topic, please let me know as I didn't find anything. I spoke to Glaser Gas (Divide center) today, propane was at $2.49 and the nice lady said this was historically on the high side. Does anyone have any logged information of the seasonal prices, or a good memory? I am interested to know what the high and low prices have been the past couple of years for the winter months, and during the summer months. Thank you.
Their "history" apparently only goes back a few years. In 2008 when gasoline was $4.00 a gallon, propane was also about $4.00 a gallon in most parts of the west.

It sounds like you are trying to decide whether to buy a house that needs propane. $2.50 a gallon is about where it becomes cheaper to heat with electric heat.

Keep in mind that as time goes on, propane prices have nowhere to go but up, just like gasoline. Also, propane is subject to price fixing, both locally and on a national level. Our friends at BP, the same ones who ruined the Gulf of Mexico, were found guilty of price fixing propane about 10 years ago and paid a fine of over $300 Million.

BP Settles Propane Price-Fixing Suit


Propane should be your last choice for heating. Even a pellet stove with pellets at $4.00 for a 40 pound bag is a better option if you can heat with a stove.
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Park County
20 posts, read 46,338 times
Reputation: 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by coloradoalimony View Post
Their "history" apparently only goes back a few years. In 2008 when gasoline was $4.00 a gallon, propane was also about $4.00 a gallon in most parts of the west.

It sounds like you are trying to decide whether to buy a house that needs propane. $2.50 a gallon is about where it becomes cheaper to heat with electric heat.

Keep in mind that as time goes on, propane prices have nowhere to go but up, just like gasoline. Also, propane is subject to price fixing, both locally and on a national level. Our friends at BP, the same ones who ruined the Gulf of Mexico, were found guilty of price fixing propane about 10 years ago and paid a fine of over $300 Million.

BP Settles Propane Price-Fixing Suit


Propane should be your last choice for heating. Even a pellet stove with pellets at $4.00 for a 40 pound bag is a better option if you can heat with a stove.

I am renting a place for at least a year, the heating system is forced air with propane (natural gas is not an option). The home is built well, mid 90's. Unfortunately the "fireplace" also runs off propane, more ambiance versus efficient heat source...maybe I will invest in an insert, they work okay.

The point of the post was to get a decent idea of what to expect fuel cost wise winter vs summer; to time when to top it off, and getting by with smaller "fills" until the price drops. It's a 500 gallon tank, so like to get 300-350 gallons in at the lowest seasonal cost.

To your point related to heating source(s), I certainly will get this dialed in soon when I build a place. I have lived in places using in-floor hydronic radiant, electric, and gas forced. Most were set up for some solar gain in the winter. In-floor radiant (dual boiler for gas or electric), a big wood burner, and passive solar will be the way I go. Of course, optimize the insulation with construction.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:11 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,849,882 times
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ColoradoAlimony is correct. Propane is a byproduct of oil production. Unlike natural gas, it is not in abundant supply. It also has to be transported mostly by truck--not cheap, either. It used to be that propane would drop considerably in price during summer, but it is also heavily used in agriculture, so the winter/summer price differential is much less now.

There is no good answer here--propane costs are going to continue to escalate, likely to high enough levels to make "ex-urban" living unaffordable for many people that don't actually have to live out in rural areas. For several years, I lived in propane-heated home. I saw the handwriting on the wall and sold it right before propane went nuts in price. Glad I did. Alternative heating sources may be a help, but the cost-benefit ratio must be closely analyzed. For example, heating with wood probably doesn't make sense unless there is an abundant supply close by. The fuel costs to transport it for the BTU's per pound of wood can get prohibitive if one has to truck the wood very far. Solar can be helpful, but the upfront cost is still pretty high. The best option is the one nobody wants to hear: less heated square feet with better insulation. That's the route that I went, along with choosing a place with natural gas availability at very cheap rates. I might add that I'm living in an area considerably colder in winter on average than where I lived in Colorado, and my heating costs here are about half what they were in Colorado (much lower natural gas rates). Another good reason that I left Colorado . . .
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:19 PM
 
599 posts, read 835,622 times
Reputation: 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTBamap View Post
I am renting a place for at least a year, the heating system is forced air with propane (natural gas is not an option). The home is built well, mid 90's. Unfortunately the "fireplace" also runs off propane, more ambiance versus efficient heat source...maybe I will invest in an insert, they work okay.

The point of the post was to get a decent idea of what to expect fuel cost wise winter vs summer; to time when to top it off, and getting by with smaller "fills" until the price drops. It's a 500 gallon tank, so like to get 300-350 gallons in at the lowest seasonal cost.

To your point related to heating source(s), I certainly will get this dialed in soon when I build a place. I have lived in places using in-floor hydronic radiant, electric, and gas forced. Most were set up for some solar gain in the winter. In-floor radiant (dual boiler for gas or electric), a big wood burner, and passive solar will be the way I go. Of course, optimize the insulation with construction.

Unless the place you are renting is tiny, you would not get by on 350 gallons of propane unless you are freezing. I used to have a well-insulated house with great wood double pane casement windows, with a brand new propane forced air 97% efficient furnace and a 50 gallon propane water heater. We kept the thermostat at 59 during the day and overnight, and 65 when we home. I typically used 7-800 gallons per year, and one very cold MONTH I used 250 gallons.

The price barely varied summer/winter. The price was driven more by the national market, which as I pointed out, is heavily manipulated. A below zero stretch in New England would cause the rate to skyrocket, when in reality almost no one in New England uses propane. It was all crap, which is why BP was actually successfully sued over it. How often does a company with the size and power of BP actually get penalized for anything? It has to be extremely egregious, it was, and it still is. Propane is a by-product of gasoline production, which rarely varied more than a few percent. There is no shortage of propane, and there never will be as long as gasoline is produced. That doesn't stop the criminals in propane supply from creating fake "shortages" to jack up the price. The price at the delivery portals goes up and down 15-20% or so through the year, but the retail prices swing wildly.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:25 PM
 
599 posts, read 835,622 times
Reputation: 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTBamap View Post
I am renting a place for at least a year, the heating system is forced air with propane (natural gas is not an option). The home is built well, mid 90's. Unfortunately the "fireplace" also runs off propane, more ambiance versus efficient heat source...maybe I will invest in an insert, they work okay.

The point of the post was to get a decent idea of what to expect fuel cost wise winter vs summer; to time when to top it off, and getting by with smaller "fills" until the price drops. It's a 500 gallon tank, so like to get 300-350 gallons in at the lowest seasonal cost.

To your point related to heating source(s), I certainly will get this dialed in soon when I build a place. I have lived in places using in-floor hydronic radiant, electric, and gas forced. Most were set up for some solar gain in the winter. In-floor radiant (dual boiler for gas or electric), a big wood burner, and passive solar will be the way I go. Of course, optimize the insulation with construction.

Unless the place you are renting is tiny, you would not get by on 350 gallons of propane unless you are freezing. I used to have a well-insulated house with great wood double pane casement windows, with a brand new propane forced air 97% efficient furnace and a 50 gallon propane water heater. We kept the thermostat at 59 during the day and overnight, and 65 when we home. I typically used 7-800 gallons per year, and one very cold MONTH I used 250 gallons.

The price barely varied summer/winter. The price was driven more by the national market, which as I pointed out, is heavily manipulated. A below zero stretch in New England would cause the rate to skyrocket, when in reality almost no one in New England uses propane. It was all crap, which is why BP was actually successfully sued over it. How often does a company with the size and power of BP actually get penalized for anything? It has to be extremely egregious, it was, and it still is. Propane is a by-product of gasoline production, which rarely varies more than a few percent. There is no shortage of propane, and there never will be as long as gasoline is produced. That doesn't stop the criminals in the propane supply industry from creating fake "shortages" to jack up the price. The price at the delivery portals goes up and down 15-20% or so through the year, but the retail prices swing wildly. September/October is the best time to fill, but as I said, it is likely you will have to buy during the peak times anyway.

There is massive consolidation taking place in the propane industry, because people are tired of being scammed. They are switching to electric from propane, and when they build, they are putting in electric from the start if NG is unavailable. Consequently, the companies like AmeriGas are buying all the small players, which just means in a few years it will be even worse than it is already. AmeriGas was ridiculously expensive where I lived, but there was a local guy who undercut then by over .20 a gallon and who was completely awesome. If he gets bought out, the price will go up .20-30 cents overnight.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:29 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,849,882 times
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I have to disagree with ColoradoAlimony on the propane supplies. Propane, along with a lot of other similar organic compounds, is a byproduct--not a direct product--of petroleum refining. Changes in refining processes have allowed a lot of propane to be refined into higher-priced hydrocarbon products. Most all of US propane comes from domestic refining. Because US refinery capacity has not substantially expanded in decades, the supply of propane is essentially fixed, while demand for it continues to expand. Higher prices are the result.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Park County
20 posts, read 46,338 times
Reputation: 45
Having a vision related to the utility marketplace is key whether one plans to build or buy a home. It's pretty obvious there was not much vision with piles of foothills and mountain homes related to utility efficiency, I guess the math at the time didn't mean so much. If you are not pigeon holed with a local water district (bend over please) 30K "tap fee", a well designed economy home pays back quickly. I am talking a macro plan and micro design/construction optimization, free of liberalism restrictions that tell you the type of nail to be used. Part of my consideration: elevation that requires no a/c, lot that maximizes winter solar, access to a good well, max 1400 sq feet of well designed living space, concrete or SIPS build out, heating stove, in-floor radiant, options to power heat sources with a gas or electric...then the utility goes back to the days of not being such a big deal. And maybe wind or sun can be part of the utility equation, need to soon learn a lot more about this stuff...
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:07 PM
 
826 posts, read 1,614,843 times
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To the point of the question: I bought propane from Glasser back in the late summer for $1.92 or so - less than $1.95 anyway. I watch the prices and usually fill up in the summer or early fall. I think I only paid over $2.00 once in the last four years and that was when I didn't get around to ordering soon enough.

If you are comparing propane to electric resistance heating, propane has to be about $2.70 (80% efficiency furnace) or $3.00 (90% efficiency furnace) per gallon to be more expensive than electricity in my area on Intermountain Electric. You can do quite a bit better with an electric heat pump system. How much better is hard to say as a standard heat pump will still have to use regular resistance heating elements much below 10 deg. Of course, ground source heat pumps do not have that issue.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Park County
20 posts, read 46,338 times
Reputation: 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrby View Post
To the point of the question: I bought propane from Glasser back in the late summer for $1.92 or so - less than $1.95 anyway. I watch the prices and usually fill up in the summer or early fall. I think I only paid over $2.00 once in the last four years and that was when I didn't get around to ordering soon enough.

If you are comparing propane to electric resistance heating, propane has to be about $2.70 (80% efficiency furnace) or $3.00 (90% efficiency furnace) per gallon to be more expensive than electricity in my area on Intermountain Electric. You can do quite a bit better with an electric heat pump system. How much better is hard to say as a standard heat pump will still have to use regular resistance heating elements much below 10 deg. Of course, ground source heat pumps do not have that issue.
Thank you for some numbers, this is what I was interested to learn. Where are you located?
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