The Illinois Department of Transportation in December relaxed rules for propane drivers, allowing them to log more hours on the road. Truckers have to wait in longer lines to fill up tankers or travel farther to get propane.
“Relaxing the trucking rules was a really, really big help,” said Don Herring, an energy department manager with Evergreen FS in Bloomington. He said everything is fine, but there is deep concern because the longer it stays cold, the worse it will get.
Propane supplies were already low for a few reasons. Farmers harvested corn late in the year, and much of it was wet, forcing them to buy propane to dry the grain before storage. Then the polar vortex that swept the country in early January pushed up heating demand and drained supplies further.
According to the Energy Department 5.5 million U.S. households heat with propane, mostly in the Midwest and South.