Cold snap heats up demand for propane, creating shortage

Posted January 27, 2014

— A shortage of propane has swept the country after unprecedented usage in the past several months.

The shortage is due, in part, to the recent spells of bitterly cold weather across the Midwest and Northeast in recent weeks, but a wet summer last year also was to blame, as farmers used propane to power machines to dry out their crops, according to John Jessup, executive director of the North Carolina Propane Gas Association.

"Crop drying in the Midwest and the cold weather, with the arctic vortexes that have been coming down, have sucked a lot of the propane out of the country," Jessup said Monday.

Propane suppliers around the Triangle said prices have jumped as much as $1.30 a gallon in the past week. That could add $430 to the cost of filling an average-sized tank for home heating.

On Sunday, the Dixie Pipeline in Apex reduced the amount of propane it supplies to area companies because of the shortage.

"Only the people who use it during the year are able to pull off the pipeline right now," Jessup said.

Even those distributors aren't getting as much as they've requested.

Mike Davis, the owner of Triangle Propane Service, said he got only half of his order filled.

"Then, you have to make the decision of who's going to get gas and who isn't," Davis said.

Dixie Pipeline officials said they would allow distributors to obtain more propane Tuesday morning.

With more cold expected in the next few weeks, Jessup said he expects the propane supply will get tighter before it improves.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 3, 2014

    @68_dodge, it's expensive because

    1- You're only looking at short term costs

    2- You are not factoring in the Billions (Trillions?) of $$ that fossil fuels cost us in environmental & health costs.

    Let's look ahead and know that oil & gas won't be like it is in 100 years...and PLAN NOW...and make solar & wind a AT LEAST taking the $8 billions that we give oil & gas and apply that to solar and wind. Seriously...would there be anything wrong with this?...when looking at our ultimate survival?

  • Wake1 Jan 28, 2014

    Shortage???? After having a glut of inventory of this stuff around for so long??? This is just like the gas "shortage" of 1973.

  • scubagirl2 Jan 28, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Sadly you are correct.....

  • scubagirl2 Jan 28, 2014

    The AG should get them for price gouging!!! That's just WRONG!!!

  • BigBangTheorist Jan 28, 2014

    WRAL, don't publish stories like this! All this story is, is fuel for Governor McCrony to push fracking further down our throats. NO TO FRACKING!

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 28, 2014

    Sill not as expensive as solar or wind energy once government subsidies are accounted for.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 28, 2014

    Propane is so expensive it's a rip off.

  • busyb97 Jan 28, 2014

    I hope the companies dont tell folks "no" and then fill someone elses tank. Put a limit on how much so everyone can at least get SOME propane, versus one getting nothing and the other getting a full tank.

    But on that note, our thermostat will STAY lower and we bundle up more. Thankfully only my downstairs is on propane.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jan 28, 2014

    You mean Finite fuels are not Infinitely available? Wow. What a shocker! ...for some of you folks, that is.

    Meanwhile, the answer to our energy problems rises in east every morning. Spend the $8 billion dollars that our government gives the oil & gas companies *every year*...spend that on solar or wind development...and make it a priority (like the moon race)...and we would quickly get out of this finite fuel mess that we're in.

  • Rebelyell55 Jan 28, 2014

    Once again the American people are getting ripped off by the gas companies. Of course they're fully supported by our goverment and our tax dollars.