Propane Costs Hit Record High This Winter

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STAUNTON, Va. -- As many of us face the challenge of dealing with snow these past few weeks, others face the challenge of keeping warm as the price of propane continues to rise.

This year alone, the price of propane hit a record increase of 32 percent compared to last year. In Virginia, the average price went up to $3.75 per gallon from $3.38 per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The U.S. Department of Energy blames the cold weather for this year's shortage, saying it's the largest drawdown in 20 years.

"It's just more money coming out of your pocketbook. People are already stretched thin as it is," said Michael Painter, a propane user. "There are people that I've worked with that have complained that they've already had to do one or two extra fill-ups this year than they would normally do, and it's going to hurt them."

If the prices continue to increase, Painter said it will be prohibitive for him to purchase propane.

Officials encourage low-income families to reach out to emergency assistance programs if they need help this winter.