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Grassley seeks FTC review of reasons for propane price spikes

This news story was published on January 25, 2014.
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WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to review the conditions that have led to propane cost spikes in Iowa.

“The recent propane supply shortage and price increases are causing hardship for the many rural Iowa families that use propane to heat their homes,” Grassley said. “I’m asking the agency that oversees business practices to look at the propane situation and see whether the price increases are legitimate or manipulated in any way to consumers’ detriment.”

gas-burner-carbon-monoxideMeanwhile, more and more rural North Iowans are reporting that they are low on liquid propane (LP). The McIntire family, who live south of Rockford, said Friday that they went to have their tank filled this week “before the next freeze comes on Monday” and were told that the price of LP is over $4 a gallon.

“They say it is $4 something a gal,” the family reported. “It would cost us $2,400 to fill our tank. We are going to use the was going to be a payment money and get pellets and some more elect. heaters. It is going to be a long cold winter. We are going to try and make it and see if it will go down.”

Senator Grassley encouraged anyone who may be eligible for federal heating assistance to contact the Iowa Bureau of Energy Assistance for more information.

Grassley’s letter to the FTC:

January 23, 2014

The Honorable Edith Ramirez
Chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580

Dear Chairwoman Ramirez:

Senator Charles Grassley

Senator Charles Grassley

I am writing to inquire about the Federal Trade Commission’s oversight of the propane market in the Midwest.

In recent days, the Midwest spot price of propane at Conway, Kansas, has spiked far above the Gulf Coast spot price at Mont Belvieu, Texas. I recognize that in the fall, the demand for propane to dry the large, wet corn harvest was significant. In addition, the Midwest has experienced increased demand for propane due to the current cold weather. However, the price for propane at Conway has surpassed the spot price in Mont Belvieu by as much as several dollars. Many of my constituents have questioned this considerable price differential. Moreover, in just the past few days, the spot price for propane in the Midwest has doubled.

I request that the Federal Trade Commission remain vigilant in overseeing the propane market to prevent possible anti-competitive behavior or illegal manipulation, and to ensure that any supply shortages are not created artificially. I look forward to hearing the results of your review of the propane market in the Midwest.


Charles E. Grassley
United States Senator

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One Response to Grassley seeks FTC review of reasons for propane price spikes

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    William Jefferson Clapton Reply Report comment

    January 25, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Cold weather and high demand, prices go up. They should have filled their tanks and insulated their houses in the summer, when it was cheaper.