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Propane Shortage

Feb 03, 2014 -- 3:00pm

by Gary Mertins


While most of us that live in the Marcellus region added up the 10 inches of snow yesterday and freezing temperatures over the last 2 weeks, some in the US appear to be struggling over a lack of propane to heat homes.

Propane stocks in many states have reached alarming lows since the winter started with meager allowances and back to back cold spells.

More than 14 million families across the US use propane to fuel their homes according the Propane Education and Research Council.  The trouble is especially troublesome in the Midwest where they have had trouble with pipeline outages and low inventories and it looks like there may be no solution until the weather warms.

The US Department of Transportation has issued emergency orders suspending the limits on the amount of time truck drivers can spend on the road for 10 Midwestern states and 12 Northeastern states, a rare regional order.

Residents using propane in shortage areas are being urged to ration.

Apparently the shortage in the Midwest was caused by large amounts of propane being used to dry out a bumper corn harvest and the recording breaking cold during January.  The state of Wisconsin has been especially hit by the shortage.  The national average price for a gallon of propane spiked last week to a little over $4, up from $2.96 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association.


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