(COLUMBUS, OH)- Shortages of propane continue across Ohio. Most suppliers are telling customers they cannot fill up their tanks.

"You can only get a short-fill which is half-a-tank, basically," said Melissa Burns.

She says that will last her family about a month, depending on how long the cold temperatures last. She's already cut back the thermostat on her furnace to 68 degrees.

"My kids would probably rather have it at 72 so they could run around in a tank top and shorts in January, but they don't pay the bill," said Burns.

Lucky for her, she decided to lock in her rate last year. That means she's paying $2.38 per gallon. She's been told by her supplier that if she hadn't done that she would be paying closer to $4.

"I don't normally lock in. I don't know what made me do it this year, but I'm so glad that I did," she said.

Around the Midwest, propane prices are rising and have tripled in cost to more than $5 per gallon during the last week. There are also 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 supplies of propane had fallen to the lowest level on record for the second week of January.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued emergency declarations, allowing propane tank operators to cross state lines and drive for longer hours through the South, Midwest, New England and the central Atlantic states.

According to the Energy Department, 5.5 million U.S. households heat with propane, mostly in the Midwest and South.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story)

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