Valley propane users face rationing and higher prices - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Valley propane users face rationing and higher prices

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AUSTINTOWN TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Homes and businesses that use propane gas for heating and cooking are finding short supplies and higher prices.

Bob Jones, who operates Youngstown Propane on Meridian Road in Austintown Township, calls the situation dire.  Jones tells 21 news that his company is not filling tanks for anyone who doesn't absolutely need it. 

Jones says prices have doubled, and nearly tripled from usual prices.  Youngstown Propane serves customers in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana Counties in Ohio, as well as Western Pennsylvania.

Matt Weingard, whose Salem Propane serves a six-county area, tells 21 news that his inventory was already low in October after farm operations consumed a large amount of propane drying out their crops after a rainy  season.  As a result, Weingard says he has been rationing supplies customers.  He says that if a propane tank has a capacity of 400 gallons, he can deliver 100 gallons right away to keep them from running out of fuel for heat.

Weingard says that in the past seven to ten days, he has seen prices increase more than in any other period since he has been in business.  

Ohio and Pennsylvania have issued emergency declarations allowing drivers who deliver propane and fuel oil to work more hours in order to ensure that customers are supplied.

A spokesperson for Kelly Oil of Salem tells 21 News that supplies of fuel oil are plentiful, but acknowledges that prices are up because of the increased cost of crude oil. 

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