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The slow start to liquefied petroleum (LP) gas demand this winter went right out the window since the arrival of frigid, arctic air across much of the central U.S.

Temperatures in most of Illinois through the first week of January hadn’t risen above the freezing mark since Dec. 23.

The plunge in temperatures sent home heating needs soaring. LP gas deliveries, as a result, are hopping, and prices, subsequently, inched higher in recent weeks.

“The warm start to winter slowed home heating (LP gas) usage,” said Chad Shull, energy marketing manager for Sunrise FS, a division of GROWMARK. “Then, all of a sudden, it got really cold and it put everything into overdrive.”

Meanwhile, recent snowfall and icy conditions on some roads haven’t been a major issue affecting LP deliveries.

“On a lot of the rural roads, we’d rather have them good and frozen so we can get through,” Shull said. “When they get slushy and soft is when we have problems.”

Natural gas and LP prices inched higher in recent weeks.

Shull believes the higher prices mostly are the result of stronger demand as opposed to any major supply issues.

“We didn’t really see any seasonal decline (in LP and natural gas) prices last summer or fall as exports kept demand up,” Shull said. “Prices are a little higher this year than they were last year.

“We were concerned going into the colder weather about supply. That’s why we keep our bulk locations full,” he noted. “In our region, we’ve had an adequate supply.”

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