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Missouri attorney general investigating surging propane prices

Updated: 2014-01-28T02:48:58Z

By JORDAN SHAPIRO

The Associated Press

— Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced Monday his office would investigate rising propane prices.

Around the Midwest, propane has tripled in cost to more than $5 per gallon over the last week. There are fears there won’t be enough propane, which is used to heat homes and dry crops, among other things. The Energy Department said last week that propane supplies had fallen to the lowest level on record for the second week of January.

“Missourians are justifiably concerned about the dramatic increase in propane prices, affecting their ability to heat their homes and care for Missouri-based livestock,” Koster said.

The Missouri Propane Gas Association said the rising costs were caused by higher exports and increased domestic demand due to colder weather and large crop yields. It said propane production has risen because of improved fracking technology, which caused companies to seek more overseas buyers. That leaves less available domestically.

State Sen. Mike Parson called on Koster last week to investigate. He alleges that gas companies caused the shortage to boost profits.

“I believe this has all been inflated by the companies themselves to make millions and millions of dollars because they choose to export,” said Parson, a Republican from Bolivar.

House Speaker Tim Jones, a Eureka Republican, said the Missouri House also would look into the issue.

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