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Propane Price Remains High

January 28, 2014, 6:30 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Propane Price Remains High
RAYMOND, SD -

The supply of propane in the state is improving.  At least that was the outlook Tuesday, according to an industry representative. But South Dakota Petroleum & Propane Marketers Association executive director Dawna Leitzke says that outlook could change.

The shortage in certain areas has caused already high propane prices to jump even higher. The problem started this fall and continues.

There isn't a propane shortage in the country. The issue lies in getting propane to places that need it, including here in South Dakota.

Near the small town of Raymond, with a propane tank sitting in her yard, Marjorie Meyer wouldn't mind a break.

Meyer: It's been a terrible cold winter.
Erich Schaffhauser: Ready for it to be over?
Meyer: Yes.

That's in part because of the fuel bills this winter has been giving her.  The most recent one was $100 more, she says, than the same time last year. She's nervous to see what her next one might be.

The latest U.S. Energy Information Administration report shows people paying close to 70 cents more per gallon of propane compared with the same time last year.

"I've never seen it like this before and I've been in business for about 65 years, 66," Herb Wegman said.

Wegman of Wegman Oil in Raymond says he has customers who bought a certain amount of propane at a cheaper price this past fall but have used more than expected because of the ongoing cold weather.

He hopes to see the price drop, saying those people will be stuck paying the high price once their contracted amount is used. He also has customers who didn't purchase in advance.

"Maybe before too long they'll get it chopped down. I know the associations and a lot of the people that have anything to do with this are working on it," Wegman said.

But the ongoing cold keeps demand high.

Meyer is hopeful to see the price drop, too. She says with some additional sources of income she can pay the extra money. She fears some can't.

"I'm concerned about the elderly that only have their social security. That's got to be tough on them," Meyer said.

A state of emergency declared by the governor that allows truckers to spend more time on the road if they're bringing propane to the state runs until February 8.

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