Shopping for propane is convenient because you can pay for a multi-month supply of a product all at once. Fill-ups may take place months apart, but that doesn’t mean you need to foot the bill all at once or at top dollar… Although you may be biting your nails at the idea of investing in more propane and the cost involved, it’s possible to save money by buying it at the right time. This is when procrastination finally works in your favor.
When it comes to propane, the goal should be to purchase your fuel at the best time of year, with things like seasonal shifts in price and supply chain fluctuations in mind. Here are a few simple tips to follow to purchase propane at the best time of year.
Buy in the Off-Season
The number one rule of purchasing propane is to buy it in the off-season. This may feel counter-intuitive at first. After all, if you buy a bunch of strawberries in the dead of winter because they’re in the off-season, they’ll cost an arm and a leg.
Not so with propane. Why? The simple answer is that strawberries will go bad in a week, while propane can last for decades — yes, you read that right. Decades. Just like the asphalt shingles on your roof or your grandmother’s cast iron pan.
This means immediate supply isn’t a concern. No one is harvesting the natural gas byproduct, liquifying it, and shipping it off to your home as quickly as possible to prevent it from spoiling.
With short-term supply concerns off the table, propane demand is the main factor dictating seasonal prices. For most homes, especially those that heat with propane as well as use it for appliances, when the colder weather sets in, it marks a steep increase in the demand for more propane. This puts a strain on the short-term supply and naturally spikes the prices.
Even in 2021, when prices were abnormally high due to global supply concerns, the New York government reported this seasonal shift. A dramatic dip in fuel supply took place specifically during the summer months of July, August, and September, before shooting back up in October.
If your tank isn’t full when the heating season ends, fill it up during the warmer months when both demand and prices are low. It’s important to note that the usage of gallons often dictates propane pricing. If you use 1000 gallons a year, your cost per gallon will be lower than if you only use 100 gallons every two years.
Spread Out the Cost
Knowing the best season to purchase propane is helpful. But no matter how full your tank is, once the colder weather sets in, you will need to refill your tank sooner or later, even if it isn’t the best time of year to pay for propane.
One alternative way to spread out those seasonal spikes in cost is by signing up for a Budget Billing Plan. This means a supplier, like Paraco Gas, will estimate what you owe over the course of a year and then split that up into monthly payments. The result is a stable and predictable cost to keep your home warm every month of the year, so you don’t have to worry about getting negative vibes from your thermostat or icy stares from your family members.
As a final note, remember to check your tank regularly and do an online search for “Where to buy propane near me” to obtain it locally. If you run out of propane at any time of the year, you may have to pay a premium for an emergency fill. Running out of gas also comes with a price tag for your local propane provider to perform a leak check to ensure your tank has no leaks, and that is the cause for the runout, not that you were price shopping. It’s always better to top things off than to run out. Although this may require a bit of pre-planning, it’ll be worth the prep involved instead of dealing with chattering teeth and having your metal cutlery get stuck to your tongue due to freezing indoor temperatures.