Friday, January 31, 2014

Propane crisis worsens; prices more than double

The crisis in propane, primarily a rural fuel, is hitting people in their pocketbooks. Shortages have driven up prices to levels never seen before. “Five dollars and 11 cents a gallon I had to pay for it,” body-shop owner and Mayor Larry Atcher of Laurel, Iowa, population 240, told Dar Danielson of Radio Iowa. “I was sick to my stomach. You know?” In December, the price was $1.94.

Atcher said he has his home thermostat set at 55, and is using electric heaters, but worries about others: “I would think some elderly people and low-income families are the ones it’s going to hurt the worst, because if you get caught without propane and can’t afford it, what do you do? Do you buy propane or do you buy food?” (Read more)

"The effects of the crisis will reach beyond homes and farms to local businesses, churches and schools . . . in the middle of the nation," Missouri's Nodaway News Leader reports, citing data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration: "Between September and October of 2013, exports of propane from the United States rose by 73,000 barrels a day. That level of exports so close to winter almost guaranteed a domestic shortage. The Missouri Propane Gas Association also noted a pipeline, which provide much of the Midwest supplies, was shut down for repairs while a new pipeline moved propane from the central part of the country to new export terminals on the Gulf Coast. Over 6 million people in the center of the country use propane to heat their homes. Because extremely cold temperatures remain in the forecast in the coming weeks, the situation could get worse." (Read more)

3 comments:

Jim Gooch said...

We could see the very same thing happen with natural gas as we switch from coal to gas for base load electricity generation.

Anonymous said...

Good news for me, our propane company not only came to refill the tank in a timely fashion last wee, they honored our pre-buy contract and we got the propane for less than half of the current going rate.
Still, we are burning wood as much as possible and using some electric heaters in the far reaches of our old, drafty farmhouse. We also plan to put in a hybrid heatpump-gas system this summer because we no longer feel propane will be reliably available in the future.

Anonymous said...

All reports seem to speak of midwest. I am a 2 store laundromat owner and this is reminiscent of 2007-2008. Here in Charleston SC area my price doubled from $1.85 to $3.55 per gal. At 500 gallons per week thats an increase of $3000 per month. I cannot sustain this til spring. Obama's econonomy has already cost me dearly, 49.4% less than the end of 2008.