Amid cold temperatures, price of propane rises sharply

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More than a quarter-million households in New England that rely on propane gas for heating are facing higher bills because frigid temperatures have quickly pushed up prices for the fuel.

In Massachusetts, the retail price of propane has jumped nearly 58 cents per gallon, or about 18.5 percent, to nearly $3.72 since mid-November, according to the US Energy Department. Although only a small share of households heat with propane — less than 3 percent in Massachusetts and roughly 4.5 percent in New England, according to US Census figures — the fuel is often used in rural communities where there are few other choices, and in onetime summer homes that were converted for year-round use.

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