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January 16, 2014 9:00 AM, EST

Propane Group Seeks HOS Waiver

The propane industry has asked the federal government for a waiver of hours-of-service rules for truck drivers in the Midwest and northeastern United States who are hauling the gas.

Recent months have brought propane shortages in those areas, the National Propane Gas Association said in a Jan. 15 letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“The supply of propane in the United States is strong,” Richard Roldan, CEO of NPGA, said in a statement. “What the industry is experiencing now is a distribution challenge brought on by a number of factors, including: a late, wet grain and corn harvest; historic low temperatures; insufficient propane storage; pipeline maintenance; reduced capacity for propane transports via rail and a change in the flow of energy in North America.”

Twenty-four states have waived some hours-of-service rules for truck drivers carrying propane due to the supply issues, NPGA said.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces the hours-of-service rule, but the secretary of transportation can issue temporary waivers, as can state governors, in emergency circumstances.