Propane Price Hike Hurting Rural Missourians

The price of propane in Missouri and other Midwestern states has spiked this month, as a combination of bad weather and bad timing drained supplies.

At the beginning of last week, 200 gallons cost $459. At 9 a.m. Friday, the price was $799. By 10 a.m., it was $1,027, said Robert Owen, director of the Jefferson Franklin Community Action Coalition in Hillsboro, which provides heating aid for the poor. The price ended Monday at $1,000 to $1,020, or about $5 to $5.10 a gallon.

About 10 percent of Missouri homes are heated by propane, according to the state Department of Economic Development. The supply problems started with a late harvest in wet weather. Farmers used propane heaters to dry their crops. As October ended, that produced the greatest one-week drain on Midwest propane supplies in 20 years, according to the U.S. Energy Administration.

At the same time, a major pipeline from Canada was closed for maintenance. Railway problems slowed efforts to restock, then two major cold snaps set heating demand soaring.

Read more from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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