Low Temps and High Demand Behind Continued Propane Shortage

Officials are considering ideas for more strategically placed propane stockpiles to service the Midwest in the future.

propane truck

Photo: Alex Dierckman

More propane is consumed in the Midwest than any other region, but the closest propane stockpile is nearly 700 miles away in Conway, Kansas.

The Midwest propane shortage continues as frigid temperatures send demand for propane soaring and people struggle to heat their homes.

Officials from the Propane Research and Education Council are considering ideas for more strategically placed propane stockpiles that could service the Midwest in the future.

Even after employing all methods of delivery, propane business owner, Dennis Clark says the propane supply to the Midwest still isn’t enough.

“The price has gone down as much as a dollar, or a dollar and a quarter, so I think things are looking up just a little bit,” Clark says.

Clark has raised his propane cap from 200 to 250 gallons a delivery and the price has decreased since January from around $4.79 to $3.59 per gallon.

“We’re still hauling, we’re still keeping everybody warm. It’s just kind of difficult,” Clark says.

More propane is consumed in the Midwest than any other region because of the rural landscape and agricultural businesses. But the closest propane stockpile is located in Conway, Kansas – nearly 700 miles away.

Propane Research and Education Council CEO Roy Willi, says after years of mild winters, this winter has exposed weaknesses.

“I’m hoping that this winter gives us an opportunity to look at the weaknesses in storage, transportation, and production of propane in the Midwest,” Willis says.

Plans are still developing, but Willis says he would like to see laws created that help fund and expand storage infrastructure in the Midwest and for the federal government to consider a strategic reserve of propane, similar to petroleum reserves.

Alex Dierckman

Alex Dierckman is a reporter and anchor for WFIU/WTIU News and Indiana Newsdesk. She has been with the station since 2012. From Carmel, Indiana, Alex is excited to report and deliver the news in her home state. You can follow her on Twitter @alexdierckman.

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  • Anonymous

    I just scratch my head, is this first ever severe winter in MidWest in 200 plus years of our history?

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