Thursday, February 13, 2014


Price of 100 gallons in August of 2012       $167.00 including taxes and fees.

Price of 100 gallons on January 14,2104     $297.00 includling taxes and fees.

Price of 100 gallons if I ordered it today     $513.00 including taxes and fees.

Tight Propane Supply Reaches Crisis

Feb. 9, 2014 8:03 p.m. ET

Federal and state officials are pushing emergency measures to get propane to people who need the gas to heat their homes in the Midwest and other regions of the country beset by persistent frigid temperatures.
The measures, which include extending working hours for truckers and ordering a pipeline company to prioritize shipments to areas with tight supplies, are meant to alleviate a propane crunch that has sent prices for the fuel to record highs in some parts of the country.
"The propane shortage has been a crisis for thousands of families and farmers in Minnesota and across the region," Sen. Al Franken, who represents the North Star State, said in a statement. He has been asking various federal agencies to help route more propane to places in need.
Governors in affected states are trying to increase propane deliveries and make funds available for residents to pay higher heating bills. In Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton expanded the state's heating assistance program to increase the number of households eligible to receive its funds by 120.000.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence waived fees for overweight propane loads for suppliers, and is asking farmers to make available whatever supplies they have leftover from the harvest-drying season.
In Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper eased restrictions on how many hours drivers can work before resting, so they might be available to deliver more fuel.
An exceptionally cold winter has increased demand for propane, which is used for heating in about 116 million U.S. homes. The freezing weather isn't expected to let up in the next few days, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service that call for "dry and chilly" conditions in large swaths of the north central part of the country.
The Midwest, where 36% of households rely on propane for heat, has been hit particularly hard. Supplies in the region already were tight ahead of the winter, after farmers burned more propane than usual to dry an especially wet harvest, and were disrupted after a key pipeline shut down for repairs.
Propane inventories in the region are well below average for this time of year, data from the federal Energy Information Administration show.
After a group of Midwestern governors last week sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for help, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday ordered a pipeline company, Enterprise TE Products Pipeline Co., to give priority to shipments going from Texas to the Midwest and the Northeast. That marked the first time the agency issued such an order.
Mollie O'Dell, a spokeswoman for the National Propane Gas Association, said the decision should help, but she expects supplies to remain tight through the end of the winter because the infrastructure to deliver propane to high-demand areas is insufficient.
"At the end of the day, this is really a transportation and distribution issue," Ms. O'Dell said, adding that the problem isn't a lack of propane, but "getting that supply to those who need it the most."

You will note there is no mention of greedy speculators, like the guy I worked for over a 20 year period.


  1. Reminds me to pick up another 5 gallon BBQ can of the stuff. One of them will run my coleman stove for a really long time.

    1. I've been thinking of declaring my kerosene heaters obsolete and replacing them with Coleman camp heaters that run off propane bottles.

      Given that Kerosene is five dollars a gallon, might be time to make the switch.

  2. Ok, Im being an idiot here but I dont understand.....why dont people buy their winter supply of propane in the summer when its cheaper? Or did they do that, get blindsided by Mom Nature, and run out?

    1. Zero, don't you know that only those crazy "preppers" or paranoid whack jobs on the DHS lists actually prepare for things like winter!
      Sorry, my sacasm meter broke when I read a news story that the Great Lakes are freezing over becuase of, get this it's cold outside in winter!

      You think!

    2. Well, most people do. But most people only have one tank, and the max it holds is 500 gallons. 250 gallon tanks are more common here because they are cheaper to lease. So , Joe the Ragman fills his tank during August, and he tries to get by until Spring. But this winter, it has been so cold, for such a long time, that people have used up their fuel. I know from my records that I used more fuel in November and December alone than I did in all of 2012.

      I keep multiple tanks to avoid being caught in a price surge like this, but I own some of them. That makes me responsible for maintenance and repairs, but I don't have to pay the lease fee on them. The average individual, even if he is well heeled, doesn't do that. And, in truth, this is the first time in the 30 years I've lived here where propane use has been so high. There simply has been no reason anyone would lease the larger tanks, or buy multiple tanks, unless they were of the self sufficient mindset. What's causing the furor here, is that overall this is an aging population on fixed incomes in this part of the mountains. They just can't absorb the kind of increases we are seeing, and the state has expended all the funds it had on hand for heating fuel assistance. The churches are trying to make up the difference, but even the First Baptist , always the richest church in a rural Southern town, can't do this forever.

      That's a long winded answer to the question. I guess the short course answer is this winter has been terrible and this is just one facet of that.

  3. Jamie, I think the unnerving thing about the Great Lakes freezing over is the fact that in a normal year, between 25 and 50% of the surface freezes. But this year, it's already at 75%. There have been a number of strange weather phenomenon all across the globe in the last few months, like Tokyo getting a snow storm. People wonder why I suppose.

  4. One propane company here in MN had a driver wait in line to get a load of propane for 24 hrs. The guy slept in his company truck. This is crazy. The frost depth here is down to 6 feet below ground level. A couple of towns have asked folks to keep their water running slowly so the town lines wouldn't freeze. The home owners will get a break on their bills due to the request. I have a feeling that planting will be late here again this year, unless the ground warms up fast.

    1. One winter like this is bad enough. I wonder if this polar aberration they are blaming it on is a one off thing or the new normal? We have propane in the county, but many people can't afford to buy it. I know the amount we are using is astronomical compared to a regular winter, because my own records are pretty exact, and they clearly show a massive increase in use here on the mountain top. Let's hope for an early spring.

  5. You mentioned your kerosene heaters...I haven't a single one. I own one single Coleman. So here I am thinking I need to find at least one kerosene heater and add additional fuel stores. Hum, you made me think. Still, I want one.

    1. BTW, great answer to Zero's question.

    2. The big problem here is getting kerosene. You can buy a little bitty one gallon jug at Walmart for $25.00 or so, but that's not practical. Only one gas station left in the whole county has kerosene now. Out of three trips there recently, the pump was broken once, I filled my jugs once, and when I went back just before this last storm, so had everyone else and they were out. Kerosene heaters are a great backup heat source, but the key is keeping every drop you will need on hand, and immediately replacing any you use.

      I think a lot of people are wondering why this shortage of propane and why the skyrocketing prices. I only know what goes on here in this small county, and what I read. Much of what I read, I don't trust.