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Consumers Of Propane Being Pinched By Rising Prices

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The high prices at gas pumps are becoming a daily story.

Now, a domino effect could make it more expensive to heat your home.

People like Diane Davis have turned to propane heaters, which she said work well.

"We had electric heat," Davis said, "and we got a gas pack and put this in, and my house has really been warmer since we put the gas pack in."

But it's getting more expensive, fast.

When the gas man came a few months ago, Davis paid about a dollar a gallon to fill her tank. Now, the price hovers around $1.50 in many places.

The price is based on the crude oil prices. Propane dealers set their prices according to whatever the market rate is.

Dealers claim they have no choice but to mark up the rate. Because of the strike in Venezuela, and the potential war with Iraq, the cost of crude oil has jumped dramatically over the last month.

The problem is many people can't afford it. Most propane customers buy entire tankfuls at a time. But because of the price increase, many say they will buy less until prices go back down.