Gov. Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency Monday because of a severe shortage of propane.
Many rural Minnesotans buy hundreds of gallons at a time to heat their homes, and this winter propane is getting harder to find.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon said the governor's order directs state agencies to help local governments with relief efforts if the shortage gets even worse and people are unable to obtain fuel.
"If there was an outage or a shortage and people were not able to heat their homes, there would be a need for sheltering and for providing heat to those people until the situation is resolved," Gordon said.
The National Propane Gas Association says supplies have been tight for months, in part because of the cold weather, but also because of agricultural demand and repairs to a key pipeline.
The state has also doubled its payments for propane customers who are eligible for low income heating assistance.