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Propane Prices Climb As Winter Weather Continues

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Robbie Owens Robbie Owens
Robbie grew up in northeast Texas, in a tiny town where her fami...
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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Ice, snow, and repeated bouts of bitter cold have made this winter one to remember. But, the weather has been more than a hot topic. Weather conditions outside have been costly for folks staying inside, especially North Texans heating their homes with propane.

Denise Onadele heats her Cedar Hill home with propane. Back-to-back winter storms have led to propane shortages in some two-dozen northern states. While product availability doesn’t seem to be a problem in North Texas, the availability of funds to pay the higher prices has become a challenge for some.

“Even the delivery guy apologized for the cost and said they had to send most of it [propane] up north,” recalled Onadele. “I thought I was lucky that I had propane and that was one thing I didn’t have to worry about when they were having all of the shortages. I never thought it would raise my prices.”

A lot of North Texas propane tanks hold about 500 gallons, so homeowners noticed the sudden price hikes quickly, because it hit them right in the pocketbook.

Thinking back Onadele said, “The last fill was $2.29 per gallon. The best price I could get [now], out of calling seven places, was $2.99 a gallon and when I called the place that I previously used, it was $3.65 per gallon.”

Keep in mind that price per gallon isn’t to fill something like a gas tank… multiply those price changes by 500!

This winter some local homeowners have been hit with propane bills that tallied $2,000 or more.

Nathan Elliott works for Suburban Propane in Fort Worth. He says propane suppliers are caught in the middle between rising market prices for fuel, and frustrated customers. “The demand is so great right now. There are so many storms hitting the northern states. We just weren’t ready for this type of winter.”

So while Onadele couldn’t do much about the high price of propane she did take steps to use less of it.  The mother of three brought in space heaters and hung heavy tapestries near doors and windows to help keep heat from escaping the rooms that the family uses most often.

“I’ve probably saved $500 to$600 this winter from these changes,” she said.

According to government experts, Texas’ inventory of propane — the largest in the nation — has not dropped to alarming levels. Increased demand in northern states has made propane sometimes hard for even suppliers to get, and that’s pushed prices higher.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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