The iconic Morton Salt umbrella girl has warned "When it Rains it Pours" since 1914. The mascot in the yellow dress has had it right for 100 years, and at no time has that been truer than during this year's incredibly tough winter. There's been plenty of salt being poured this season, but for municipalities across the country, there might not be enough of it to keep going. The Associated Press is reporting that the weather across the US has been so cold and snowy that road salt is in alarmingly short supply, a situation that has triggered price spikes, rationing, and cities looking for alternative ways to keep their roads clear.

According to the news agency, buying salt right now can be two or three times as costly as it was early in the season. The AP quotes the general manager of Ice Melt Chicago, a salt distributor, as saying, "So the municipalities that could buy bulk salt early in the year at $53 a ton are now paying $130 a ton a week ago ... and I heard the prices have gone up to $175 to $180 a ton. It could easily go to $200 a ton or more."

Many towns around the country are trying to keep a lid on costs by restricting usage to key areas including hills and intersections. Some are mixing what salt they have left with sand, while others are using liquid cheese brine and Beet Heet, processed molasses from sugar beets.

And it's not just the salt that's more expensive – with more storms comes more man hours, more overtime, more fuel for plow trucks and more wear and tear on equipment. When it snows, it pours, too.


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  • 32 Comments
      Tony
      • 10 Months Ago
      Cities are buying salt for $53/ton. Boy that sure makes paying $7/bag at the local HD/Lowe's a total rip off!!! Hmmmm....$53 for 2000 lbs or $56 for 320 lbs. (Buying by the ton compared to buying by the bag) ( I understand, buying in bulk will net you a much better price and that packaging and shipping the salt adds to costs) I'm just trying to point out that there is a bunch of mark up on this product and has huge profit margins at the retail level. In case anybody cares! LOL
      Fat Stig
      • 10 Months Ago
      This better not affect grocery prices, I dont think I can afford paying $1.50 for half a years worth of salt over the $0.83 currently.
      Bassracerx
      • 10 Months Ago
      paying 180 dollars for 2,000 pounds of anything is still ralatively a good deal all things considered ...
      razorpit
      • 10 Months Ago
      Thank goodness for global warming. Could you imagine how much snow and ice we would have had by now without it?
        mapoftazifosho
        • 10 Months Ago
        @razorpit
        Saying that since it is cold in the winter, that proves that global warming doesn't exist, is like saying that since it is dark at night, the sun doesn't exist.
          razorpit
          • 10 Months Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          So let me get this right, it's not okay to highlight cold weather during winter months to dispel global warming but its okay on every warm day in the summer to say "See! Look, look, global warming is real!" Nice try but you don't get to play both sides of the argument...
          mapoftazifosho
          • 10 Months Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          I've never used a warm weather day to prove that climate change exists...I'm sorry that journalists do...trust me!
          razorpit
          • 10 Months Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          Why I read your reply to my post why does it sound like you are lying through your teeth?
        dbauer2000
        • 10 Months Ago
        @razorpit
        It's not global warming, that's too inconvenient when we record record winters. Now it's climate change. There, now anytime something happens that doesn't support global warming, you can prove it supports the climate change theory.
        mapoftazifosho
        • 10 Months Ago
        @razorpit
        I think we can both agree that for automotive and even local environmental reasons...we should be using less salt!!!
      Cain Gray
      • 10 Months Ago
      All the more reason to buy a Subaru or a used Audi.
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Cain Gray
        [blocked]
          razorpit
          • 10 Months Ago
          Maybe not in that specific example however its a hell of a lot easier to make it around tight twists and turns, and go up and down steep inclines. Not saying AWD is for everybody but you're either extremely ignorant or a pompous idiot to say its for nobody.
        Cayman
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Cain Gray
        Or just a set of winter tires.
          m_2012
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Cayman
          Or what I just did - Subaru with snow tires. Unstoppable. I wish they would quit plowing and using salt altogether. Separate the men from the boys and save loads of cash while not rusting cars.
          razorpit
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Cayman
          No no m_2012, Cayman knows what's best for all! He/she has spoken and so has the Internet!
      m_2012
      • 10 Months Ago
      I have an idea....quit using salt!! There are so many other cheaper and better alternatives, like the mentioned beet juice.
        razorpit
        • 10 Months Ago
        @m_2012
        I'm guessing the amount of salt available is in far excess of the available beet juice.
          m_2012
          • 10 Months Ago
          @razorpit
          because no one knows how to grow beets? And there are a dozen more renewable, non-corrosive alternatives available. The downside is they dont corrode and automakers (and the states they produce in) can't have that.
          razorpit
          • 10 Months Ago
          @razorpit
          [Face palm] And what have we learned from the whole corn fiasco? Where do you think all run off is going to go from the fertilizer required to grow these beet plantations? Look, while beet juice may be the better product, try to scale it to cover the entire northern hemisphere of the U.S Not happening anytime soon.
        S.
        • 10 Months Ago
        @m_2012
        From what I read, I don't think beet juice is cheaper than salt
      ChrisH
      • 10 Months Ago
      I am sure some government official will solve the pricing problem by writing a law protecting themselves from gouging. Then suddenly wonder why no one will have salt to sell
      Kuro Houou
      • 10 Months Ago
      They use way to much salt anyways, they should implement a program to recover the tons of sale sitting at intersections when trucks dump a ton of it there.
      quantumfm
      • 10 Months Ago
      Buy a Subaru!
      Slideways
      • 10 Months Ago
      I've seen a municipal salt truck idling beside a coffee shop (Tim Hortons) and guess what? It was still spitting out salt! That road patch literally had a blanket of salt. Great tax dollars at work and not to mention thanks for hiking salt prices.
      intellerv
      • 10 Months Ago
      This 'shortage' is such BULLhsit...you can get salt by the acres in Huchison, KS
      jebibudala
      • 10 Months Ago
      That chic with the umbrella is hot. I'd smash.
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