Propane gas...what a shock at $3.29 plus tax!

Chemocurl zn5b/6a IndianaFebruary 26, 2008

I delayed as long as possible having to buy propane gas, knowing it was going to be high. In the last 3 months I've used about somewhere between about 15-25 gallons for cooking, gas dryer, and a very little use of a small gas space heater. I have not used the heater in the last month or so, so I think I will just turn off the pilot.

It used to be that the company would only fill you up, and not make a trip for any less unless you paid and extra $50 fee. They now will deliver as little as 100 gal with no extra del fee. So...today I paid $353.90 (for gas plus tax and Compliance Charge) for my future cooking and drying needs.

If I used 25 gal in 3 months, and continue to use that amount, the 100 gal will only last one year. Does $354 strike anyone as really high to cook, bake, and dry clothes for one person for one year? I might add, I do really like cooking with gas, as well as my Maytag gas dryer. My experience with electric dryers at the homes of friends was that they seemed to bake the clothes and shrunk my jeans badly. Maybe it's time to start considering a new electric dryer.

Sue...upset at todays outlay

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western_pa_luann

"Does $354 strike anyone as really high to cook, bake, and dry clothes for one person for one year?"

Nope.
I think you are doing well spending ~$1 a day for all that!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 3:36PM
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johndeere

I use about 1800 gallons a year to heat my home,dry close,hot water heater,gas stove.I am not paying $3.29 a gallon plus tax but around $2.49 plus tax.My electric bill runs about $85.00 during this winter.Things are Tuff all over I guess.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:11PM
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houndhandler

$3.89 per gallon here in California.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 1:28AM
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cynic

Hi Sue. My cousin was saying just the other day that propane now was about $3/gal. He was able to lock in at $1.88/gal last fall on a guaranteed number of gallons for his lake place. He had to pay 10% up front but it's still credited. With todays fuel prices, he's doing well, IMO.

Although it's too late for this winter, I'd suggest you check into the "summer fill" programs and contract rates. Since you know what you usually use, it's easy to estimate future needs.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 4:35AM
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clink

I pre-pay in summer also. I locked in our price at $1.53 a gal. We used to contract 1000 gal but never came close to using it so every year, the money would stay in the account with no interest. So 3 years ago -- I went to 900 gals and still had excess in the account.

Not this year!!! I used up my 900 gal and now are paying $1.88 a gal. Much colder year. So I don't know what to do........ they don't refund on current accounts at the end of the season.

For a historic comparison........ in 1999, my 1000 gal contract was $550. This year.... it was $1530.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 11:23AM
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jannie

I got a shock today at the gas pump. Last week I paid $3.199 for a gallon of regular unleaded. Today it was $3.40!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 12:15PM
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johndeere

I also contract my propane every June so im not sure what it would be off the truck price around here?Certainly hope come June it will not be $3.29

Jannie thats terrible but there saying $4.00 this summer I hope not however.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 4:29PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I think you are doing well spending ~$1 a day for all that!

and

$3.89 per gallon here in California.

I just thought it was a bit high because of being alone, and not really doing a lot of cooking, or clothes drying. I guess things could be a lot worse.

I'd suggest you check into the "summer fill" programs and contract rates.
I always aim/want to do that, but it always slips my mind at that time of year. Maybe someone could give me (and others) a reminder here about summer fill time.

Sue

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 7:16AM
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bry84

I also like cooking with gas, although we have natural gas here. I make savings on this by cooking more than one thing at the same time if possible. Extra cake, biscuits or bread can be frozen for use later.

I've been looking for an old cooker at the dump so I can get a third shelf from it. When baking I often wish I had another shelf as I have to wait for something to come out before the extra tray goes in. It would save time and gas if I had another shelf.

Also, if you ever are baking just one item, use the top shelf. In most cookers it's about one gas mark higher than the middle shelf, so if a recipe says gas mark 5 on the middle shelf, you can often get the exact same result from cooking it on the top shelf at gas mark 4.

As for clothes dryers, I only use them when the weather is bad. They consume a lot of energy, so changing to drying outside gives a big return for your effort. I would not be surprised if half your propane use was the dryer.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 2:11PM
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cynic

Sue, the summer fill times vary with the companies. Do you know any neighbors that use a summer fill? Be worth picking their brains a bit and find out the best time and any hints they have.

Do you have any competition for supplier? That always helps. Play one against the other a bit, just be careful that you don't get labeled a problem customer. With a small useage, they most likely won't knock down your door trying to get/keep your business.

One other thought... How many pilot lights do you have? It might be worth it to look at getting rid of pilot lights. If you have them and don't consume a lot of gas, then a big portion is just for those little flames that effectively do nothing for you. I keep telling my sister to replace here cooktop that has two pilot lights. Just the cost of burning those two things would pay for a new, electronic ignition cooktop in about two years or less. Told her to do that 10 years ago so you can figure out what it's cost to keep that obsolete thing that doesn't work right anyway! But, she doesn't want to listen... Hey, I tried. :)

Anyway, next time I see propane users I'll ask (well I'll try to remember to ask) when they usually see the best rates. Again, that will vary from company to company. They're looking to lock in their price too so it can vary a bit, but hey, if you can buy 2 years worth for the price of one, it's worth it for you to buy 2 years worth of gas.

Hey, it might be worth calling the propane place(s) and ask them when they do summer fills and get some info on it. Doesn't hurt to ask. Then make a note on your calendar, set up a reminder in the computer, put a note on your birthday list or something to jog your memory. Or hey, hang the bill on the refrigerator! That'll probably remind you or shock you into it! ;)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 7:01PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I've been looking for an old cooker at the dump so I can get a third shelf from it
Bry, you might try checking at a used appliance place. Around here they usually have unrepairable stuff out back, and might just give you what you need.

I try to make more than one thing when the oven is on, but being alone, that can be dangerous...numerous pies, numerous cakes...you see where I'm going with that...lol

I would not be surprised if half your propane use was the dryer.
You're probably right. Being alone, and it being winter, I have not had a lot of laundry, like in the warmer months (gardening), but I have had the house so cool, that I 'was' warming my clothes each morning for a couple of minutes in the dryer. You can be sure I'll not be doing that anymore.
(I'll warm them in the oven if I happen to be baking...lol)

Do you have any competition for supplier?
I rent my tank, so if I switch, I'd have installation charges, yada, yada, yada. Not worth it.
I asked about my company maybe having used tanks for sale...they were like $500-$700. It would take a long time to recoup those charges...don't you think? I might keep my eye out for one though.

I have one pilot on a little heater here in the living room. I guess in some small way, it 'does' give off a little heat, but I recently (last week) turned it off. It is easy to light if I need it. I've gotten quite good at it.

I'll call my supplier tomorrow and find out when their summer fill is. I'll even ask if they will call me, but will make a note on the calender...just in case they forget me. If it is some cheaper, I'd gladly buy more than a years worth to save some $$.

Thanks to everyone for your input.

Sue

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 12:12AM
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dockside_gw

Just for historical perspective, in 1971 we lived in a home in Minnesota (had just moved in, that's how I remember) and propane was 14 cents a gallon. When we moved out in 1985, it was 85 cents a gallon (about $100 a month, averaged over 12 months). Our heating bills were astronomical, compared to natural gas which we had always used before.

So, before we built our current home in 1999, we wouldn't consider buying any lot if it didn't have natural gas available. Now, our bill, for over 2500 s.f. (up and down) for heating and water heating and gas fireplace (supplemental heat) is $88 a month in the Seattle area. In 1986, when we moved to a house with natural gas, still in Minnesota, it was $59 a month (vs. the $100 a month on propane).

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 8:08PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Just out of curiosity, does that mean that your dryer and cooking are electric?

We have natural gas and our cooktop, dryer, two water heaters and boiler (radiant heat although our use of that is limited) are on gas (oves are electric) and our last gas bill was $165 for the winter (it goes down to around $60 in the summer). We used 157 therms last month at .8746 per therm.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 12:40PM
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dockside_gw

Yes, I have a gas dryer. Inadvertently left that out. I changed from a gas cooktop last summer to induction (electric) and our gas bill was adjusted about $50 (budget plan) downward a couple of months ago, even tho we have had lower temps than last year during the winter. Doesn't mean that we are using $50 less per month but that, after a few months of lower gas usage, the monthly budget plan was cut to reflect the lower usage for the last four or five months (we were building up a credit, evidently).

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 12:10AM
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cynic

Oh Sue (Chemocurl)......

Can you believe it? 3 months since we were discussing heating bills! I've been thinking I should put the a/c in the window before the weather gets too hot. Supposed to be real humid this week. Have to get out the fan, I guess.

Anyway, just thought I'd remind you that this is a good time to check on propane prices on a summer fill. See what thy can do for you. Anytime from about now for the next month or two is a good time to be shopping for your winter fuel commitment. Get out your records of fuel use so you know how much to look at buying. No sense buying two or more years worth (unless the price is really right!) so you should know how much you use and can talk to them about a quantity.

Let me know how it goes. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 10:20PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Hi Cynic,

I got your email...and thank you so much for remembering me.
For starters, I don't know what size tank I have...either 200 or 250 gal....and at the end of Feb was when I put in 100 gal....so it has been a little over 3 months now. I just checked the gauge, and it reads about 48%. I think I used the little propane heater maybe half a dozen times after the fill, and usually only for a couple of hours. I don't expect to be doing much heating with gas in the years to come...maybe just the little one, when I have been gone a good while, and turned the electric down low...or even off. It sure helps having a basement, and not have the concern of freezing pipes like I used to have in my mobile home b4 building. The house can be left without heat for days at a time, with some really cold temps outside, and the only damage I've ever had was some (stupid) house plants...which I didn't particularly care for anyway.

Guess I will check the price now, and go ahead and have them fill it up...as it won't get any cheaper in the years to come.

Thanks for thinking of me.

Sue

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 10:50PM
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bookert

We use AmeriGas and I have to pay for a summer prebuy contract! That's on top of coming up with $3K just so I won't flip out when the prices hit $4 gallon or more!
Own our own 500 gallon tank and it gets filled twice a year.
Everything is propane and no hook up for 220v.
Should have gone solar when we had the chance!!!!!!
Comes to almost $300/mo and I'm in SoCa!
Think solar units will come down in price?????
Anyone with knowledge please reply!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 8:21PM
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rick02809

it sure beats the $ 4.65/gallon for Home heating OIL that a majority of New Englanders are stuck with!!!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 10:43PM
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ky114

It might be, but due to differences in heat values you can't just compare it gallon for gallon. Oil has about 140,000 BTU/gallon while propane is about 91,000 BTU/gallon. Even considering that propane equipment is usually a little more efficient than oil-fired, propane still has to cost less than $3.40 a gallon to be cheaper than oil at $4.65 a gallon.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 11:50AM
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cynic

Actually, by my calculations, $4.65 for heating oil would equate to about $3.03 to $3.06 per gallon for propane, with the caveat of all other things being equal, such as efficiency of the furnace, insulation of the house and the like.

By my rough calculations, to equal $3.29/gal for propane, heating oil would need to be over $5/gallon.

You might want to reconsider! LOL

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 8:05PM
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ky114

Yes, at equal efficiency, propane at $3.29 equates to heating oil at $5.06. But because propane equipment is usually more efficient than oil-fired, I took 90 percent efficiency for a propane furnace and 80 percent for oil. I summarized that in the too-vague statement "even considering that propane equipment is usually a little more efficient than oil-fired," but I should have provided the details.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 1:20AM
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