LP Gas

Retailers, association execs discuss gallon growth

Warm Thoughts Communications hosted the Growing Gallons Conference ahead of the National Propane Gas Association’s Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo in Nashville, Tennessee.

The conference brought state association executives and propane retailers together for a day of discussions and presentations centered on gallon growth.

Stuart Weidie, president and CEO of Blossman Gas, delivered opening remarks to the group, which represented more than 20 U.S. states, according to Warm Thoughts. According to Weidie, gallon growth is essential for propane marketers from a labor standpoint.

“It’s easy to do your 22 or 26 deliveries every day, and that’s all you’re going to do for 30 years,” Weidie says. “But most young men and women want a purpose.”

So tasking millennials with new, unique opportunities can help propane businesses grow, he says.

At the conference, industry stakeholders also explored consumer attitudes about purchasing propane as a means to discuss gallon growth. Richard Goldberg, Warm Thoughts president, walked the group through research his firm conducted in February. Among the unveilings: 92 percent of propane customers are satisfied – either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied – with propane.

“The satisfaction of people who use our fuel is very high,” says Goldberg, who noted as a caveat that propane availability and pricing have been more consumer friendly in recent years.

One research development that generated some discussion among the group was how low rebates scored compared with other factors propane customers care about when they’re considering a water heater purchase.

According to Warm Thoughts’ research, 71 percent of propane customers consider rebates as either very important or somewhat important in their purchasing decision. Other factors Warm Thoughts asked about that scored higher or the same as rebates were energy efficiency (94 percent), cost (92 percent), produces hot water quickly (91 percent), consumer reviews (82 percent) and recommendations from family, friends, coworkers and neighbors (71 percent).

The rebates development generated some discussion largely because rebates have generally been an approach the industry at large has taken to achieve gallon growth.

Another surprise related to Warm Thoughts’ research emerged in that 17 percent of propane customers revealed they are more likely to call retail stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ace Hardware (45 percent) for a new water heater versus a propane delivery company (17 percent).