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MADISON, Wis. - After
months of rationing propane at the pumps and a nationwide shortage, propane
suppliers and customers are catching a break.

The price of propane
gas dropped to $2.95 this week, according to the US Energy Information
Administration. That price is nearly three-quarters what it was at the
beginning of February when the price per gallon spiked to $4.

Nationwide shortages,
a brutally cold winter and much higher demand combined to create what some are
calling 'the perfect storm' for creating a propane crisis.

"The propane
industry's been dealing with (the shortage) since harvest back in
November," said Brandon Scholz, who manages the Wisconsin Propane Gas
Association. "If you remember, in the beginning of December, it snowed, it
got cold and it never warmed up."

He added weather is
likely the largest factor at play in the crisis spiking demand more than
previous years.  He expects the price to keep falling, but doesn't believe
the crisis will be over until the weather warms up.

"Supply has
become a little better. We're hearing from dealers that they may have a 50, 60,
70 percent supply that they have to serve their customers," Scholz said.

In the meantime,
suppliers said they can manage for the duration of the crisis. Scholz said he
expects the crisis to last into April and asked customers to cut back on usage
until spring.

As propane prices drop, shortage still looms Saturday, March 1 2014, 02:23 PM CST

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