the lowest stocks since 1996.
"Midwest stockpiles are at their lowest for this time of year since 1996, curbing supply in a region that uses more of the fuel to heat homes than anywhere else in the U.S. Adding to the supply crunch, farmers in this region, which produces 32 percent of the world's corn, use propane heaters to dry their crops.
The country is shipping record levels of propane and propylene abroad, helping improve margins for producers but raising costs for farmers to dry their crops. Prices have jumped 51 percent in the past year, illustrating a side effect of exports even as shale drilling has boosted production of natural gas liquids, or NGLs, to all-time highs.
Farmers aren't the only ones facing higher costs. The Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department's statistical arm, is forecasting that Midwest families who heat homes with propane will spend an average of $136 more this winter. USA Today reported heating bills will be up almost 25% this winter, and we don't even know how long this is going to go on! The good news is only 6% of Ohio homes heat primarily with propane and mainly in Morrow County.
What if this is a sign of winters to come? Arthritis sufferers have been suffering bad in this weather. Maybe more will move out of the already diminished Rust Belt?
Will propane prices discourage more corn acres this summer, too?