Cold Weather Brings Stark Realization

It should come as no surprise that the U.S. is consuming fuel to heat homes and buildings at a furious pace this winter. In some mid western states governors have declared states of emergency due to the shortages of heating oil and propane. While some of the shortages are due more to logistics than consumption, terrible driving conditions due to weather slows down trucks delivering propane, demand is the elephant in the room.

Other reports attribute the tightened fuel supply to the extreme cold impacting operations. reports,

“This arctic chill has forced natural gas and gasoline pipeline operators to reduce flow and refineries to scale back production, after some systems have started to fail under the extreme conditions. The instruments that control flow have failed, and some product has thickened or turned to jelly in some of the lines. Due to the reduced production and delivery, oil prices have risen for the second straight day, and natural gas prices are at a 17 month high.”

Back to the elephant in the room (demand). Reuters reported on January 21, 2014 that propane stocks in the U.S. are half what they were a year ago. Combine this information with the report from that power utility companies are grabbing up natural gas to keep their electricity production going (driving up prices for natural gas and consuming a good portion of the available fuel) and you must ask yourself two questions.

  1. Am I doing everything I can to reduce my demand for fuel to heat my living space?
  2. Do I have a plan for how to pay for fuel* I use to stay warm?

* Do you have a plan for an alternative fuel if you experience delays or difficulty getting the fuel you normally use?