Dear Chairman Upton and Chairman Whitfield,
As Members representing the Midwest, we respectfully write today to request a hearing into the current propane shortage, the long term outlook of Midwestern supply and potential solutions to the problem. As you may know, households and businesses across the Midwest have seen significant spikes in the price of propane fuels during the severe winter cold. Any further reduction in supply threatens to leave our constituents without the fuel necessary to heat their homes and to keep livestock and poultry barns warm.
According to the Energy Information Administration, Midwest residential propane prices, for the week of January 20, averaged $2.50 per gallon, compared to $1.74 per gallon a year ago. The situation grew much worse last week with prices averaging $4.20 and reaching upwards of $5.00 in some areas. Several factors are potentially contributing to the current price increase and supply shortage, including unseasonably cold and wet weather, supply disruptions, and an increase in exports.
This is a problem that is not going away. A formal hearing to fully investigate the role and resources available to moderate supply and relieve skyrocketing prices during the coldest time of the year is vitally important to thoughtfully considering viable long-term solutions to meet our energy needs.
We respectfully urge you to promptly schedule a hearing to discuss this timely and important issue to our constituents.