Updated: 02/25/2014 7:32 AM
Created: 02/24/2014 1:14 PM KSTP.com
With Minnesotans experiencing the state's coldest winter in 35 years, state lawmakers are seeking solutions for a propane shortage affecting residents who use the fuel for heating.
An estimated 250,000 Minnesota households use propane to heat their homes, mostly in rural areas.
A House commerce committee was considering a proposal on Monday to put $20 million into a heating assistance program for low-income Minnesotans. It could be fast-tracked when the legislature convenes on Tuesday. If it doesn't happen, the program will expire while it's still winter.
The money would come from the Department of Commerce's general fund.
Shortages have spiked propane prices. Minnesota Commerce spokeswoman Anne O'Connor says that the average cost of a gallon of propane has fallen to $3.27 a gallon. That's down from a peak of $4.67 gallon at the end of January, but still much higher than the $1.63 average per gallon a year ago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.