Local News

Cold Snap Has Some Shivering Over High Propane Costs

Posted December 20, 2004 4:11 a.m. EST

— The cost of keeping warm is setting new records.

Propane, a favorite fuel during winter months, has become more expensive than ever -- and it's hurting people who can least afford it.

Propane fuel prices are up 24 percent over last year. A delivery of propone could add up to several hundred dollars.

"Well, it's a little bit of a shock," said Tim Twisdale, who is discovering his rising winter heating bills are more than he bargained for.

Industry experts won't say how much higher heating fuel prices could climb this winter. Some consumers in the area speculate propane will top $2 a gallon before winter is over.

"A lot of times the cost or price is weather dependant so a staying cold snap can cause the price to go up even further," said Tom Betts of AAA Heating Fuel.

Betts said that because of high prices, 9-month equal pay budget plans have been extended another month to help the elderly.

"We worry about elderly people on fixed income (who) can't really afford these increases," Betts said. "So we have to look out for them. That's a problem."

Even the younger generation, like newlywed Twisdale, says they'll need help too.

"Prices are a little high, but it's a bit of a challenge for your budget," Twisdale said.

At $1.74 cents a gallon, propane is still cheaper than fuel oil at $1.99 a gallon, or kerosene at $2.09 a gallon.