Indiana lawmakers address the propane shortage

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- A propane shortage has left consumers with few options, except to limit the amount they use, and pay much more than they are used to paying.

“I have not seen a price increase like this in my lifetime,” Republican State Senator for District 7 Brandt Hershman said.

Hershman said the last time he bought propane, something the Buck Creek resident is used to paying $2 a gallon for, it cost him $5.29 a gallon.

About 500,000 Hoosiers are in the same boat as no immediate end is in sight to the region’s propane shortage.

“This is not just an Indiana problem, it’s a national problem and our options are limited,” Hershman said.

An option lawmakers do have is to refund the sales tax revenue from propane purchases.

On Tuesday an amendment was added to Senate Bill 1 eliminating the sales tax for a propane purchase costing more than $2.50 a gallon. If it passes, consumers can be eligible for a credit to make up for previous purchases.

“It’s a small thing, but not so small when you look at the numbers,” Herhsman said. “It could be on average about $100 a rebate per fill-up.”

The tax exemption would be for purchases from January 1 to April 1.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence declared an energy emergency Wednesday. He said he will suspend restrictions on propane suppliers and extend travel waivers until March 1 to get more propane into the state.

Pence will also release $5 million in heating  assistance for low-income Hoosiers.

“We’re going to continue to avail ourselves and work with partners in the general assembly to the best of our ability,” Pence said.

As News 18 previously reported the propane shortage is partly due to the high demand in the frigid temperatures. Senate Bill 1 will go up for final consideration on Thursday.

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