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Propane in short supply - abc27 WHTM

Propane in short supply

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

One of the results of this harsh winter we've been having is a shortage of propane.

That's a problem that's being felt outside of the Midstate and one that can't be blamed solely on the winter.

The drain on propane started this summer in the Midwest when farmers used the fuel to dry wet crops. Yes, it has been made worse by this brutal winter.

"The number of years I've been in this industry I've seen shortages and demands on supply, but I've never seen one quite of this depth," said Ken Lundy, a fuel sales representative at H.B. McClure Company.

Which presents two issues. First, as the supply shrinks, the price swells.

"With the cold temperatures, you saw that a couple of years ago, it spiked up and then it stayed up," said Russell Hornung of Hornung's True Value Hardware. "We had a cold spring as well and it stayed up through the summer. And then the next year it dropped and it was half the price."

Just the reverse has happened this time. Lundy says last winter a gallon of propane was around $2. Now it's heading toward $5.

"We've seen costs jump 70-cents in one day," he said.

The second problem with the supply shortages is that some people may have to do without. Many home delivery propane suppliers have been forced to ration it.

"Primary heat versus fire logs, decorative logs and so on," said Lundy. "Just to keep people warm right now. Part of the plan is to not quite fill tanks, only fill them to half capacity."

Hornung says they've got the propane and they've been locked in on a low price, but they keep battling to keep salt available.

"We brought two truck loads in this week, early this week, and sold out of both of those and just got another truckload today and over half of that is gone already," he said.

 

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