Extreme cold creates propane shortage - KCTV5

Extreme cold creates propane shortage

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The cost of propane is soaring, and demand due to the cold weather has helped create a shortage.

Ten days ago, the cost of average cost of a gallon was $2.26 in Missouri. Now it's $3 a gallon. It is costing some an extra $500 to fill up a tank than it use to.

And some residents are finding it difficult to even buy the propane.

Tamara Gillam said the price has risen four times since her last delivery. She certainly didn't budget for it to cost $600 to fill her tank.

"The sticker shock is what gets you. When you call and they go, 'It's $3 a gallon.' Wow. I just filled it for $1.50, but there's nothing they can do about it," Gillam said. "It's gone up a dollar a gallon in the last three weeks. It's huge."

She is keeping her thermostat set at 65 degrees and has a wood-burning stove as a backup. 

"I'm hoping 200 gallons will at least take us through March," she said. "Even with the heavy snow last February, she only needed a tank to get through last year's winter."

Tom May of MFA Oil explained the record-setting price hike.

"We are seeing spikes in demand, which creates spikes in prices," he said. "The record temperatures has really put a squeeze on propane inventories."

Besides the demand in the United States, there is also overseas demand.

"There were two new export terminals built last year," he said. "We've seen a record amount of propane exported out of the country."

MFA gets its supply from a terminal in Conway, KS, but their supply is low. He said he knows the cost is tough for customers to absorb.

Gillam said that wood is "not cheap either" because wood is $175 a cord "and that doesn't get you as far as you'd think."

Missouri officials are working with Texas officials to ease trucking restrictions in hopes of getting more propane from Texas to boost supplies.

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