City officials in the Midwest are struggling to prepare for another season of heavy snowfall as road salt supplies drop and prices surge, the Los Angeles Times reports. High demand and once-high gas charges have boosted salt prices, but the spike from $40 to $140 per ton seems exorbitant to some Illinois and Indiana politicos, who have demanded price-fixing probes.
“Companies are selling their stockpiles as quickly as they can produce it," says an industry rep. “No one can keep up.” Some cities plan to mix sand, brine, and beet juice with salt to extend supplies—or just tell the public to drive slower. "We'll stretch what salt we have for as long as we can, and hope for warm weather," one official says. "That's all we can afford to do."