Shutterstock

And prices are up 50 percent since last week.

The Midwest is running so low on propane that at least two states have declared a state of energy emergency. And now, with Polar Vortex 2: The Vortexening approaching, it's only going to get worse.

The shortage is due to several factors. The first polar vortex is one, but CNNMoney also blames increased propane exports and last fall's larger (and wetter) than average corn crop, which required more fuel for crop-drying heaters. The month-long shutdown of a major propane pipeline is also a factor.

The result? Propane stocks are at their lowest since 1993, when the government began keeping track, according to Reuters.

Michigan Governor Rick Synder declared a state of energy emergency on January 10, and Ohio Governor John Kasich followed suit last weekend. The declarations lifted regulations limiting commercial drivers' hours. More hours on the road will hopefully mean expedited delivery. Several states, from Oklahoma to Vermont, have asked the Department of Transportation for similar transportation waivers.

In the meantime, prices have skyrocketed -- propane is up 50 percent in one week alone, according to CNNMoney. So even if you can find propane, you might not be able to afford it.

"It's cold and we're paying so much money and it's still cold," Ohio resident Lori Martinez told Toledo News Now. "It's frustrating because the house is cold and you're going broke."

Fourteen million homes in the United States use propane for heat. If you're one of them, you are advised to keep your thermostat at a chilly 50 degrees and avoid using propane to cook.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    What Happens When a City Tries to End Traffic Deaths

    Several years into a ten-year “Vision Zero” target, some cities that took on a radical safety challenge are seeing traffic fatalities go up.

  2. photo: a WeWork office
    Equity

    For Many WeWork Employees, the Job Is About to Change

    The co-working giant is letting 2,400 employees go and outsourcing 1,000 cleaning and facilities jobs as part of a company-wide belt-tightening.

  3. photo: downtown Cincinnati
    Equity

    Cincinnati’s Bid to Make Renting More Affordable

    A bill introduced in the Ohio city would make it the first in the nation to require landlords to offer alternatives to cash security deposits.

  4. photo: A Starship Technologies commercial delivery robot navigates a sidewalk.
    POV

    My Fight With a Sidewalk Robot

    A life-threatening encounter with AI technology convinced me that the needs of people with disabilities need to be engineered into our autonomous future.

  5. photo: A stylish new funeral parlor called Exit Here in London.
    Design

    Death Be Not Dull

    U.K. restaurateur Oliver Peyton’s newest project, a style-forward funeral home called Exit Here, aims to shake up a very traditional industry.

×