A surge in heating demand propelled U.S. propane prices during the 2020-21 winter season, according to a new federal report.

Residential propane prices in the United States averaged about $2.30/gal at the close of March, up 43 cents from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

About two-thirds of the natural gas byproduct is consumed during the winter months. Propane is the primary heating fuel in an estimated 5% of U.S. homes and is most prevalent in the Northeast and Midwest, according to the agency.

EIA said U.S. average residential prices increased by more than 52 cents/gal, or 30%, during the 2020-2021 heating season that spanned from Oct. 1 to March 31.

“The increase in prices can be attributed primarily to higher crude oil...