VERMONT (WFFF) — More than 42,000 Vermont housing units use propane for their heat, according to the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association. That’s about one of every six homes and apartments in the Green Mountain State, making propane the state’s third-most-popular home heating source.
Propane—sometimes called liquefied petroleum gas—ranks narrowly ahead of wood but comes in behind heating oil and natural gas. Though it’s most commonly extracted from natural gas during processing, it can also be extracted from crude oil during refinement.
According to data from YCharts, a financial software company, Vermont propane prices have gone up on average by about 15 cents per gallon in the last month.
“As demand increases in the winter, we usually do see prices creep up a little bit,” said Leslie Anderson, the CEO and president of Propane Gas Association of New England.
She added that the kind of seasonal increase being seen at the moment with propane can probably also be seen with heating oil. “They’re less expensive in the summer, and then, as more demand from people happens every year, we see a slight increase,” Anderson said.
Because demand is highest this time of year, Anderson said propane prices should be expected to fluctuate somewhat. “But I don’t expect anything dramatic to happen, even though down South, there’s lots of refineries shut down and gas plants that are shut down there because of the extreme cold weather that they’re having,” she noted.
Anderson cited two main reasons. Regional demand has not been excessive this season, and New England’s supply is plentiful. “We’re having a warmer-than-normal winter, even though it doesn’t seem that way this week, and the supply that we have in New England, the majority of it, comes from rail out of Canada,” she said.
That includes most of Vermont’s supply, leaving Southern refineries largely out of the picture — and if necessary, there’s even another option in New Hampshire that Vermont dealers can use.
“We also have supply that can come into Vermont through Newington, just next to Portsmouth,” Anderson said. “That’s a backup in case we have massive snowstorms or there’s some problem with rail coming in.”
NEWS10’s sister station in Burlington and Plattsburgh also attempted to speak with eight different Vermont propane dealers for this story. Most did not return calls. The who did either declined to comment or had no one available for an interview.