Propane prices, demand continue to concern customers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is investigating the dramatic rise in the price of propane. Some customers have complained prices went from less than $2.00 a gallon in December to about $5.00 a gallon recently.

One local expert says there's a logical explanation for the price increase, but prices won't go back down until after the worst of the cold. The propane problem has swept the whole Midwest. In the St. Louis area, Catherine Rankovic struggles with trying to fill her 400 gallon propane tank.

"I said I need $600 worth, and they said that will get you only 100 gallons and the minimum delivery is 200 gallons," Rankovic said.

She said her tank would normally cost between $600 and $800 to fill, now it will cost about $2,400.

Armada Corporate Intelligence Director Chris Kuehl says the reason there's a price hike is because there's a shortage of propane caused in part by Mother Nature.

"What we are dealing with is a shortage brought on by this nasty weather we've had," Kuehl explained.

He also says exporting propane to Europe, a bad pipeline break in Canada, and a direction change in the flow of a major propane pipeline also play a role.

Kuehl says sending supplies out to the East coast also hurts.

Kuehl explains even though Attorney General Koster is stepping in, it doesn't necessarily mean there's foul play.

"Almost every time you see high prices you will see Attorney Generals step in, sort of re-ensure the public- if there is gouging, if there is someone taking advantage of this- we will find these culprits," he said.

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