Truckers delivering much-needed heating fuel to homes and businesses throughout the Midwest will remain on the road longer now that the federal government has extended regional emergency declarations.
Liquid propane was in short supply in dozens of states during the month of January.
Energy Information Administration analyst Mason Hamilton says on January 27, propane hit a record high in the Midwest, at $4.19 per gallon. That's since 1990, when EIA began tracking weekly propane and heating oil costs. Across the nation, propane peaked at just over $4.00 per gallon.
But that trend has now reversed. Propane prices are on their way back down for the fourth consecutive week.
Read more: LP Gas Magazine
Scott Long is with Growmark FS, the fourth-largest propane supplier in the nation, according to LP Gas Magazine. Long says some customers are still at a lower inventory (i.e. tanks not full), but says they will see more attractive prices in the coming weeks as spring approaches.
John Tibbs of the Illinois Propane Gas Association agrees. "If conditions continue as they are", Tibbs said, "we'll continue to see a downward trend."
Residential propane customers may save as much as $1.00 per gallon if they wait until summer to fill their tank.
The following is from US DOT:
As a result of the extreme arctic cold weather conditions around the country, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has eased regulations since January to make it easier for truck drivers who are delivering propane, heating fuels, highway rock salt and other de-icing materials to the affected areas.
Altogether, the Regional Emergency Declarations currently cover 36 states in the East, West, Midwest and Southern regions of the country, and the District of Columbia.
Some of the significant requirements that have been lifted are:
- Certain hours-of-service requirements, like the number of hours a driver can work and be behind the wheel (drivers must still complete logbooks);
- Vehicle marking requirements;
- Certain vehicle inspection, repair and maintenance requirements, including preparation of driver vehicle inspection reports and periodic inspection.
- The declarations still require carriers and drivers to comply with traffic laws and report any DOT recordable crash to FMCSA.
The full Emergency Declarations and expiration dates can be found HERE.