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Propane shortage looms as temperatures drop

 
Propane shortage looms as temperatures drop
Posted January 21st, 2014 @ 8:24am by The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- There's a shortage of propane in Ohio and the reason is being called a "perfect storm."

Wet conditions in the northwestern United States caused large supplies of propane normally held in the Midwest to be shipped there to help dry out crops. Couple that with a colder than usual winter leading to increased usage, a pipeline that ships propane to Ohio being down for repairs, and the price of U.S. propane being cheaper than world market prices.

"At the moment there appears to be plenty of propane in the country, it's just in the wrong place," said David Field, executive vice president of the Ohio Propane Gas Association.

Ohio Governor John Kasich issued a state of emergency over the weekend to allow extended hours for truckers bringing propane in to the state. It's not just an Ohio problem. The federal government has issued a similar waiver throughout the Great Lakes Region which includes 10 states.

Many propane marketers are urging customers to conserve the propane they have until the issue is resolved.

"Obviously there isn't enough propane at the moment to fill everyone's tank all at once," Field said. "I think we're going to have this under control. I don't know how long it will be."

As with any products, when demand out-paces supply it impacts the price. Field wasn't able to give an average price for propane, but he says there's no doubt that it has gone up and quickly recently.

The good news is that while there is a shortage there are no reports of outages. Field says if you need propane you can probably still get it.

"I don't think there is anyone that is going to go cold," he said.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

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