High demand for propane creates problems in the Midwest - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

High demand for propane creates problems in the Midwest

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(01/22/14) - Our cold winter means most of us will be paying more to stay warm, that's especially true for homeowners who use propane to heat their homes.

With demand high and supply low, it's even more of a challenge for them.

Homeowners are taking a hit in their wallets.

A homeowner ABC12 spoke with is paying almost twice as much just to keep his house warm these days.

Kevin Madsen, who moved into his Owosso home a year ago, uses two propane tanks.

He just filled up and he says what he's paying for it isn't cheap.

"Late in the summer the rate was $1.66 a gallon and we filled up last week and it was $2.50 a gallon so within a few months it's gone up 50 percent so that hurts. I just wrote a check for $800 I'm sending in today," he said.

Madsen isn't alone. The problem is being felt in the Midwest. The low supply of propane isn't only being blamed on the weather.

Propane companies say farmers used propane more than normal to dry out grain this year which is now making it very difficult to get the supply.

"It's frustrating. it hurts in the pocketbook," Madsen said.

Some states such as Michigan and Ohio have declared the state of emergency which speeds up the process allowing propane trucks to travel on the road for longer hours so they can make deliveries.

Many companies in Mid-Michigan don't seem to have it as bad as other places but they are having to raise their prices in order to compete with the high demand.

Suppliers have some tips on how to conserve if you use propane.

"There's electric heaters. I know people that have gas furnaces and stuff. They actually save quite a bit of money using one of those. Other than that, installation, put plastic over your windows. Anything that's going to keep the cold air from coming in," said Adam Rickard, manager with Gill-Roy's in Grand Blanc.

"We're going to probably burn more wood. I just bought wood and we're going to use our new fire place a little more often," Madsen said.

Because of this, some companies in the Midwest say they're delivering less than half of what they're used to delivering.

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