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Cunningham Report 8.28.2014

Being Proactive About Propane

One of the biggest worries to my constituents early this year was the price of propane.  In less than a week, the price went from about $1.25 a gallon to nearly $5. While current propane prices in Rogersville are about $1.69 a gallon, we know from past experience they will not stay there for long.

An investigation into propane prices found that an “unusual combination of market forces” led to higher prices throughout the Midwest, early in 2014, according the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.

The attorney general’s investigation concluded that an unusually cold and early winter and record propane exports depleted propane inventories and the market responded with record price increases. Initially, the cost increase has been blamed on a shortage in propane. Farmers had to use high amounts of propane to dry wet crops late in fall of 2013, the weather that fall and winter the weather has been historically cold. The United States is also exporting more of the low-cost fuel than ever before.

However, none of these reasons can account for the fast price hike consumers felt early this year.

The Senate called upon our Attorney General to investigate the propane gas price hikes. After the request, he opened an investigation into the cause of the increase in prices and to look into consumer complaints filed with the Consumer Protection Division about the surge.  The Senate also conducted a hearing on a resolution that urged the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the price increase of propane, the price disparity of propane among storage facilities and the supply shortage of propane available to consumers.  Congressman Jason Smith worked with his Missouri colleagues to look into matters on the federal level.

I am worried about the cold reality of winter setting in, and along with the fact that prices very well may rise again. Which will leave many in the same situation they were last year: trying to decide to eat or heat their homes.

In uncertain economic times, it is hard to plan ahead and save, and I understand that. But that is exactly what we need to try to do to avoid the price increases and almost emergency state when there are no funds and no propane to heat our homes and businesses.

As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol, however during interim I may be in district. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.

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