Propane price surge hits Western Slope

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. An extremely cold winter in the Midwest is creating a heavy demand for propane.

Even the US Department of Energy has acknowledged that cold weather could lead to record high natural gas storage withdrawals, as well as propane.

The high demand and limited supply is causing the cost of propane to go up on the Western Slope, which is affecting both retailers and consumers.

Mari Garland, the owner of “Junction West RV Park", says she has to raise her prices in order to make a profit.

“We saw a price increase of $1.48, which would have put us selling about 35 cents below our selling price yesterday," says Garland.

She's putting up signs and letting her customers know about the $1.24 price increase that she doesn't see changing anytime soon.

“I’m cautioning them that we don't expect this price to drop right back down. Our supplier is telling us basically we should plan on this being the price through the rest of the winter," said Garland.

Garland says many propane users can't easily make the switch to natural gas or other heating sources.

“It's a pretty major ordeal for them to do that, so this just means that they're going to turn their thermostats down, put on more blankets, put on another layer and look forward to the spring warm up,” said Garland.

Surrounding areas in the valley also purchase propane from Garland's supply and she understands how it affects them as well as her residents.

“When it gets a big jump like this for us, it's a big jump on them and we feel for them," says Garland.

Baron Glassgow, the Executive Director of the Colorado Propane Gas Association, says the demand for propane is extremely high due to the unusual winter, but he believes the price hike is a very temporary situation. In addition, he says once the weather warms up propane will be able to be produced again.

“Mobile City RV and Home Park” in Grand Junction also sells propane and the Assistant Manager says their business is also being affected by the price surge.

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