We have installed a link at the bottom of this page to access the EIA (Federal Government Energy Information Administration) section related to propane pricing. While the link accesses the page for United States propane prices, you will find a selection box in the upper left corner area to access propane prices for individual states. Simply open the selection box and select your state.
It is important to consider the following when viewing the EIA propane price data:
- The EIA propane price data does not include a propane price page for all individual states within the United States. Only some states are included. As of November 2017, we found only 38 states and the District of Columbia. We are unclear if the United States propane price page includes an average of only the 38 states or if the United States page includes averages for all 50 United States. We suggest website visitors contact the EIA directly with any questions around this or other unclear matters.
- The EIA propane price data does not differentiate between customers that use propane for heating only, cooking only, water heating only, etc. In other words, the pricing does not differentiate between customers that use specific volumes of propane each year. A customer in a state with colder winters will likely use more propane for home heating than a customer in a state with traditionally less colder winter seasons. Since some propane suppliers claim that they base their propane pricing per gallon on customer volume purchased, this may cause EIA pricing and actual propane supplier pricing to be different.
- The propane price information does not differentiate between customers obtaining propane service using propane tanks owned by the customer or propane tanks owned by a propane supplier that may be leased to customers. Many propane suppliers will charge different propane prices for customers that obtain deliveries in their own their propane tank versus customers that obtain deliveries in propane tanks leased/rented from their supplier. Many propane suppliers charge different propane prices based on tank ownership.
- Propane price information provided by the EIA is only available between the beginning of October and the end of March (the common heating season months) each year. Therefore, propane price information for customer deliveries completed between April through September of each year is not included. As a result, customers that use propane for water heating only, clothes drying only, cooking only and other non-home heating uses (many propane uses not affected by winter weather) is not identified.
For the reasons above, the propane price information posted on the EIA website and actual propane pricing charged by propane suppliers may differ significantly. Therefore propane consumers should keep in mind that EIA propane pricing may differentiate significantly from propane prices charged by some suppliers.
Propane customers should be mindful that the most straight forward and transparent way for propane suppliers to share their current propane pricing with their customers is to post propane prices 24/7 on each respective propane suppliers’ website. This obviously assumes that a propane supplier or propane suppliers are interested in sharing their propane pricing with current customers and prospective customers. Propane customers will find that a very small number of propane suppliers openly and transparently post their current propane pricing on their company websites. Many customers wonder why all propane suppliers do not openly and transparently post current propane prices on their website.
Some propane suppliers claim that they do not post current propane prices on their website for ‘competitive reasons’. Other propane suppliers claim that they do not openly and transparently post current propane prices on their website because propane prices change at record speed, so rapidly, so quickly that it would be impractical for someone to sit there and change the propane pricing on the company website all day long. Evidently, that website propane price changer would be absolutely winded by the end of the day.
If this is the case, why do some propane suppliers openly and transparently post current propane prices while others claim it cannot be done since the prices are changing at record speed. Futhermore, why is it that gasoline stations openly and transparently post their gasoline station fuel prices out in their parking lots on illuminated signs with huge pricing numbers. Considering all these factors, is it possible that some propane suppliers that choose not to openly share their current propane pricing do not want their current and prospective customers to see and compare their current propane pricing? Hmmm?
A propane customer can become highly vulnerable to becoming a victim of propane price gouging under the following circumstances:
- A propane supplier that does not openly and transparently post current propane prices on it’s website. The propane customer does not have the ability to see the current propane price that the supplier is charging. With automatic delivery, (see bullet point three below) the customer can call the office and ask about propane pricing, but the quoted price per gallon may or may not apply to the next delivery because the quoted price applies to the instant of the telephone quote, not the exact moment that the delivery truck is transferring propane to your tank. Since many supplier claim that propane prices change at record speed, it is possible that the price may increase two dollar per gallon before lunch – who knows, it may increase three dollars per gallon before lunch!
- A propane supplier that pressures customers to lease a propane tank rather than purchase their own propane tank. A customer with a leased propane tank can only buy propane from the company that owns the leased tank. Essentially, the customer is a hostage of the supplier that owns the propane tank and must accept the price or fight the supplier if the propane prices start floating upward endlessly (a common complaint of propane customers expressing their frustration on social media channels).
- A propane supplier that insists that the customer be on automatic-fill (a route delivery system). The customer will not know when the propane delivery truck will stop by to make a delivery. Therefore, the customer will not be able to call before hand to ask the supplier about propane pricing BEFORE the delivery. The propane truck magically shows up and delivers propane to your tank while you look out the window and watch with absolutely no idea what the propane price per gallon will be for that delivery! If you are a supplier, what is the incentive to charge competitive propane prices?
- The real mystery: With virtually all propane suppliers choosing not to openly and transparently post current propane prices on their websites – and virtually all propane suppliers claiming they charge competitive propane pricing – and it is highly illegal for propane suppliers to call each other to discuss and set propane prices – how can any propane supplier price their propane competitively if they cannot see what the other propane suppliers are charging in the area and they cannot call each other to discuss, share and set propane prices? Perhaps this is a good question for your local propane supplier.
If a propane supplier does not openly and transparently post current propane prices on it’s website, the alternative is for a propane supplier to tell a customer to ‘call the office to ask about current propane pricing’. Asking current propane customers to ‘call the office to ask about current propane pricing’ can lead to a shady shell game around propane prices. When a customer calls the office to ask about propane pricing, it is very possible that most customers are paying a wide range of propane prices. Some customers may be paying $1.50 per gallon, while another customer in the same area may be paying $3.50 per gallon. When a customer calls to complain about pricing, the supplier can manage each customer’s price individually, without the need to set all customers pricing as per the current propane pricing appearing on the company website.
The worst nightmare for a propane supplier that is hiding propane pricing to play pricing games is when customers get together and start talk about propane pricing. At that point, customers begin sharing their current propane pricing and get ticked off that someone else with the same supplier is paying $1.80 less per gallon – for example. So, if one customer is paying $3.00 and most if the other customers are paying $1.60 per gallon (we will never know, it is all in the supplier computer and propane prices area not openly posted), and the customer paying $3.00 calls the office to complain, the supplier employee will likely do the customer a huge favor and lower the price per gallon to $2.60 per gallon – and the customer feels better that he or she is paying $40 cents less per gallon than before he or she called the supplier office but may be paying $1.00 more per gallon than the other customers in the area. Conversely, if the suppliers propane prices were openly and transparently posted to the company website, everyone would be paying the same price per gallon, with small exceptions for customers that own their own tank and other possible minor differences.
Moral of Story: If you are searching for a propane supplier:
Look for a propane supplier that openly posts current propane pricing on it’s website. If you cannot find a propane supplier offering service in your area that openly posts current propane pricing on their websites, tell the supplier that you would like them to start posting their current propane pricing on their website for all to see. Tell the supplier that you know they are honest with propane pricing as they claim – but you want them to prove it by openly posting their current propane pricing on their website for all to see 24/7.
If a supplier refuses to post current propane prices on it’s website, a propane customer can protect himself/herself from propane pricing games by using the following suggestion:
If a propane supplier does not consistently post it’s current propane prices on it’s company website (to avoid sneaky, greedy propane price games during one-on-one propane price telephone calls), propane consumers should ALWAYS request that the supplier provide 24 to 48 hour advance notification of the propane price per gallon and any delivery fees (if any) that will apply to the pending delivery via text message, voice mail, fax or e-mail. This will give the propane consumer time to contact other propane suppliers in the area BEFORE receiving the delivery to compare and confirm that the propane price per gallon and propane delivery fee (if any) are competitive and the customer is not being overcharged for the scheduled propane delivery. If your supplier communicates a propane price per gallon that appears to be non-competitive based on information that you have obtained through making several calls to other local suppliers before your delivery, be sure to contact your current supplier for discussion and downward adjustment to your propane price per gallon BEFORE the arrival of your delivery.
NEVER ACCEPT A PROPANE DELIVERY WITHOUT FINDING OUT AND COMPARING YOUR PROPANE PRICE PER GALLON BEFORE EACH DELIVERY.
Propane consumers are strongly encouraged visit our page with a list of Frequently Asked Propane Pricing Questions to learn additional ways to check and compare your propane price per gallon to ensure that it is indeed competitive before each future propane delivery arrives.
If you feel like you have become a victim of propane price gouging, call the Federal Trade Commission office to report the situation. You have a right to complain about a propane price gouging situation.
Propane customers should also visit CheckPropanePrices.com to view a survey of what other propane customers are paying for propane fuel in their state and/or county.
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