In Nevada, the biggest demand is in the northeast and north central parts of the state, driven in large part by heavy use of propane to heat and power gold mines, Hasenohrl said.
"The mines are burning propane a ton right now. They very much are in need and demand," she said. "They may be going through 50 percent more than what they normally do."
The most recent data published by the American Petroleum Institute showed that in 2010, approximately 53,000 users in Nevada consumed about 49.3 million gallons of natural gas liquids and liquid refinery gases, mostly propane.
Lisa Menante, executive director of the Nevada Propane Dealers Association, said only 38 of Nevada's 201 cities and towns have natural gas service available. She said that means the other 80 percent â¿¿ primarily in smaller rural communities â¿¿ rely primarily on propane.Demand is up especially in the Ely area and in Elko, which has made it above freezing only three days over the past three weeks and the mercury plummeted below zero on 16 nights since Christmas. Western States Propane in Elko hasn't run out of propane but had to ship some in from as far away as Kansas earlier this week, said Julie Kraus, head of the company's board of directors. "We've been OK, but it's a tight market," Kraus said Wednesday. "It's been such an extremely cold trend that getting the supply is taking longer and then getting it to residential areas and industrial mines etc. takes that much longer because of the bad roads and icy driveways," she said. "It's a double whammy." Hasenohrl said Las Vegas also is feeling the pinch because its fuel comes from California and Arizona, which have some of the longest lines for refueling. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer declared an emergency there Monday to allow transportation of propane free from normal restrictions.