Huge winter savings anticipated after salt prices plunge

Salt prices dropped $16 to around $50 per ton

The salt garage at a Kent County Road Commission complex. (file photo)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Following last year’s light winter, salt prices have plunged nationwide. As a result, the Kent County Road Commission is anticipating a season-long savings of up to $800,000.

Salt prices dropped by $16 per ton from $66 last year to around $50 this year.

Each year, the Kent County Road Commission agrees to buy a set amount of salt to secure the government-rate price they get on salt from a supplier.

“This is a pretty significant fluctuation. We’re used to seeing 4 or 5 dollar-a-ton fluctuations. We have not seen a 15 dollar-a-ton fluctuation in a while,” said Jerry Byrne, deputy managing director of operations for the KCRC. “That’s a big chunk.”

Because of the purchasing agreement with its supplier, KCRC’s barns are already full of salt purchased at last year’s price. The savings will come as that salt is replenished.

Byrne says it’s too soon to start thinking about what to do with the potential money saved.

“We’ll worry about what we saved or what we spent come April,” Byrne said. “You can’t change mother nature. We’re not going to start trying to spend what we may have saved in November because we could be fighting snow in April.”

Year over year, the savings seem significant. But consider that in 2013, salt sold at around $45 dollars per ton before spiking more than $20 to some $66 per ton in 2014.