Price of propane makes heating homes expensive proposition

By Anthony Antoine |

Published 01/27 2014 01:45PM

Updated 01/27 2014 01:51PM

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- Before the cold kicked in, it was a beautiful day and many people were outdoors taking advantage. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine finds out how people prepared for what's to come.

Everyone had their own way of enjoying the relatively nice day, but with temperatures dropping, just keeping your home warm can be a struggle.

"Today is kind of a heat wave. I'll take it. I wish it would stay like this."

Sunday, temperatures climbed all the way into the 40's. While some of us were enjoying the nice weather, others tried to prepare for the second round of bitterly cold temperatures headed this way.

"I'm trying to the 18 miles in today. We're at mile 11. Only seven more to go."

"I'm hoping February will be better than January. I'm ready for spring, but anything above zero is nice."

But, one man is preparing his home for more cold weather to come and it's costing him.

"I bought propane the day after Thanksgiving and it was $2.09/gallon. I bought a little over 300 gallons for about $700. Then I filled up last Thursday and it cost me over $1,600. $1,600 is a lot of money."

It's a case of supply and demand. There's a shortage of propane and with cold temperatures, everyone is trying to get their hands on it.

"You have no choice. I had to get the tank full. I had to heat my house. You got to pay it. That's the scary part, if you run out of propane and it gets down to the temperature they're talking. You have to worry about your pipes freezing and everything else."

A lot of local stores in Champaign didn't have propane and didn't know when things would return to normal. The propane shortage is happening all across the country, but especially in the Midwest.

Industry officials say a few things are causing the problem. A Midwest pipeline was shut down for maintenance. There was also high demand for propane last fall to dry a rain-soaked harvest of corn, an increase in oil production and, of course, the extremely cold weather.

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