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News Link • Business/ Commerce

Salt Prices Skyrocket As Temperatures Plummet

• http://www.popsci.com, By Mary Beth Griggs

Talk about a polar plunge. This week all 50 states experienced freezing temperatures on the same day. Preparations for the (possible) deep freeze of this winter are already hitting cities and states where it hurts: in their wallets.

Prices for the rock salt used to prevent ice from forming on roads are skyrocketing. Time reports that the price of salt is up by over 50 percent in some states, and the price has tripled in others. One of the biggest leaps was in St. Louis, where prices jumped from $49/ton last year to $112/ton this year. That might not seem like a lot to pay for an actual ton of material, but the United States uses around 22 million tons of salt on its roads every winter, and that adds up.

The rising prices are due to a combination of factors including the fact that last year was particularly cold and snowy, leaving many government salt stockpiles depleted.

Salt is one of the more abundant minerals on Earth, but finding it in large quantities isn't always easy. There are salt mines all over the world, remnants of saltwater oceans and seas that existed millions of years ago.

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