The Rundown: How the National Propane Shortage is Affecting PA

The propane shortage is affecting Pennsylvanians as well as residents and businesses across the country. In an article about the 2014 propane shortage, we mentioned that the U.S. exported 20% of its propane in 2013, meaning that the current propane shortage isn’t just affecting the Pennsylvania and the U.S., but also countries around the world.

It’s easy to see that everyone is being affected, but, as a company that offers propane delivery services in Bucks Country, PA, we thought it was worth taking a closer look at the impact the shortage is having on residents and businesses in the state.

The following serves as a rundown of how commercial and residential propane standards are shifting in PA as a result of the propane shortage.

Prices are Rising

According to an article by Fox 53, a news source that covers Central PA, “In Pennsylvania, the average propane residential price was $3.75 per gallon at the end of [the last full week in January 2014]. That’s the highest price since EIA began keeping track in 1990.”

The EIA, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, retrieves data and analyzes it for government use and citizen awareness.

Notice the dramatic shift in propane prices at the beginning of 2014 in the graph below. (And, on a more optimistic note, notice how the rise in price from 2000 to 2008 refers to the rise in popularity of this amazing, energy efficient gas.)


The following chart helps show the stability in propane pricing throughout 2013 until the shortage struck in 2014. From January 2013 to December 2013 the dollars per gallon of propane only rose slightly more than one dollar. But from the first week in January 2014 to the first week in February 2014, the price per gallon spiked about fifty-five cents!


To get more insight, visit the EIA’s propane page for PA.

Propane Suppliers are Working Overtime

Before the shortage, there was a limit to the amount of hours a truck driver carrying propane and other resources could consecutively operate a truck. That limit was extended during January due to an action by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). And now, in February, many speculate that a similar action will be put in place.
The initial action by PennDOT said:

“Drivers usually must take a mandatory rest period after 11 hours behind the wheel. The limit for driving hours is extended to 14 hours.”

The action also temporarily changed the 60/70-hour limit rule that “requires drivers to stop driving upon accumulating 60 or 70 on-duty hours over a period of seven or eight consecutive days, respectively.”

This is just one of the ways propane suppliers are working harder than ever to help their customers and get the propane industry back on track.

Conservation is Now Key

Customers of various propane suppliers are currently unable to receive typical propane refills. For instance, a customer with a large propane tank may only be able to get their tank filled halfway. This is one way suppliers are working together with customers to conserve during the shortage.

One supplier interviewed by Fox 53 said his company is prioritizing customers like hospitals and giving residential customers only what they need and nothing in excess.

While GasTec does support conservation, it doesn’t necessarily employ the same tactics in the region. If you have any questions about what we’re doing now to conserve propane, please ask us a question in the comment section below. Also, any other questions related to our operations during the shortage are welcome.

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