Some Missourians struggling to heat homes after spike in propane prices

Propane prices in the state are now at more than 4 dollars a gallon

COOPER CO., Mo. - The recent spike in propane prices have some Missourians finding it tough to heat their homes. Propane prices in the state are now at more than $4 a gallon. Gov. Nixon's office estimates around 245,000 people in Missouri use propane gas to heat their homes.

William Spurling in Bunceton says he normally has money budgeted for every expense, but the large increase in propane prices has left him struggling. Spurling's home relies completely on propane gas for heat.

Every few weeks, Spurling buys 100 gallons. He says just 18 days ago he bought that 100 gallons for $221.90. But on Wednesday the price had risen to $491.91.

That's a 122 percent increase.

"We can't afford to pay that for 100 gallons of gas. There's no way," said Spurling.

With the tank down to just 5 percent, the Spurling is trying to make that last bit of propane last as long as possible. He did not even have the heat running in last night's extremely cold temperatures.

"We used 5 blankets on the bed and it was 50 degrees. When I got up in the morning, I put the heater on to heat it up to 60 degrees, and then I went back to bed," said Spurling.

Spurling says every once in a while he will flip the heat on, but just long enough to make sure the pipes don't freeze. That's an expense, he says, that he doesn't know how he'd pay.

"The house was gonna freeze up, the pipes were gonna burst, and the house is gonna need $2,000 or $4,000 for new piping and sheet rock and whatever," said Spurling.

For now, the Spurlings are just relying on one small electric heater and a few candles to keep them warm.

Governor Nixon has announced $15 million is available to Missourians to help with rising propane prices through the federal governments Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. People like the Spurlings are eligible.

Click here to apply for home energy assistance.

Since this story aired, ABC 17 viewers have donated or pledged to donate $3,000 to the Spurlings so that they can stay warm this winter.

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