Propane prices skyrocket, leaving some out in the cold - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Propane prices skyrocket, leaving some out in the cold

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The price of a warm home is costing some people thousands of dollars.

The entire Midwest is seeing a propane shortage. In return, prices are skyrocketing.

Duane Hull has lived in his home for more than 40 years. He says it was just Wednesday when his propane provider came to fill him up, and says he is paying $3.50 per gallon.

"(It's) going to put a burden on a lot of people," Hull said. "I know they didn't expect it to be this high, and nobody else did either. There's going to be a lot of people who are going to be short."

Terry Grant, energy manager for East Central Iowa Coop, in Waterloo, agrees. He says he's been in the propane business since the 1970s, and this year has been very stressful. 

"(The) highest I ever charged for propane was $2.50 (per gallon)," said Grant. 

Grant says on Thursday, propane was around $4.72 per gallon.

"(It) went up a dollar last night, and this last week it probably went up maybe $3 or $2 and some cents," said Grant. 

Why is there a shortage?

Iowa Propane Gas Association is saying a late harvest all over the Midwest led to massive amounts of propane in order to dry the crop. That followed with brutal winter weather and increased exports to Asia.

Because of the shortage, Grant said his drivers are only delivering 200 gallons per home to ration it out. But he says that's still a lot of money for homeowners.

"That's over $1,000, almost," Grant said. "Who can afford $1,000, you know? Warren Buffet?"

Experts at the Iowa Propane Gas Association say we should see these prices go down when the weather gets warmer.

Barb Grant, executive director from Operation Threshold, says this propane shortage is a huge problem and some of their clients don't know what they're going to do.

Those who qualify for the LiHEAP program, an energy assistance program, receive about $500 for the winter -- and that lasts only a few weeks.

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