Texas helps with nationwide propane shortage

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SHERMAN, TX -- This season's extreme winter weather has people cranking up the heat across the country, but just when people need it the most one heating source is growing sparse and that is sending the price skyrocketing.

Earlier this month Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency to deal with a dwindling supply of propane in Oklahoma. The Texas Propane Gas Association says the state produces two-thirds of the nations propane so its shipping propane to states in need, but shipping is costly and the weather is delaying trucks which means customers will feel the pinch when they need to fill up their tanks.

David Pittman bought three tanks of propane Friday night and says he paid about $20 dollars more than what he normally pays.

"I've never seen it this high ever," Pittman said.

The Bryan County resident says he drove an extra 50 miles down to Sherman just to get a better deal.

"I drove over from Oklahoma to buy this propane because within the last year, where I live, the price has almost doubled," Pittman said.

"What we're seeing right now is just record high propane prices. I've been in this 30 years, these are the highest prices that I've seen," Douglass said.

Brad Douglass, of Douglass Distributing, says in some states prices have jumped from about $2 dollars a gallon to more than $5 dollars a gallon.

"We have definitely seen the price increases that they're experiencing in the Midwest, but nothing like they're experiencing in Minnesota and North Dakota," Douglass said.

It's the winter storms that are being blamed for the shortage that is driving demand. To help the 33 states facing a shortage, including Oklahoma, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst signed a declaration of emergency this week which lets states in need tap into Texas' abundant propane supply.

"Gov. Perry gave a waiver for out of state companies to come to Texas to pick up propane," Douglass said.

In addition another waiver was signed allowing fuel employees to work longer hours to aid in the emergency relief.

TPGA says propane is used to heat more than 7 million homes in the U.S.