Departing WPGA leader: Future bright for renewable propane

June 7, 2022 By    

Joy Alafia discovered how much can happen in eight years, especially in California.

Headshot: Joy Alafia


When Alafia joined the Western Propane Gas Association (WPGA) as president and CEO in September 2014, she says, the industry was more insular, focused on best practices and networking opportunities.

WPGA changed over the years to take a more consumer-facing approach and educate regulatory and legislative bodies about propane’s benefits.

“We did our first strategic plan in 2015, and at that time, we already knew we were a clean fuel,” Alafia explains. “We saw how a lot of other energy sources were looking in the renewable space. We didn’t know how, but in our strategic plan, we put our first marker that we wanted to be in the renewable space, as well.”

Fast forward to today, and renewable propane is in production at low-volume levels – California having become the first state to bring the product to market, according to the association.

Alafia says it’s a testament to WPGA recognizing the importance of a strategic plan and understanding a changing market and a call for cleaner energy.

Now the association is changing again with Alafia’s decision to depart the propane industry. Though her successor had not been named at press time, Alafia says she’ll be available into July to help with the leadership transition.

“It was one of those opportunities that doesn’t come up very often, and I just couldn’t let it pass,” she says. “At the same time, it’s definitely hard to leave an organization when you enjoy what you’re doing, and I tell people I wake up every day with a purpose.”

Her purpose has been to protect and grow the propane industry in California, which has been under attack by policymakers looking to ban gas use in favor of electrification. As one example, the California Air Resources Board plans to ban internal combustion engine forklifts by 2025.

Alafia became that familiar face coming to propane’s defense at the state, national and international levels. She calls speaking on a global stage, including at World LPG Association events, a crowning achievement.

WPGA has its wins, Alafia says, which are “even more significant because of the challenges we’re up against.”

Even now, she adds, it’s difficult to understand the gas ban push “because you see propane saving the day in a lot of instances when there [are] energy supply issues in terms of grid electricity or severe weather events.”

WPGA supports the continued growth of renewable propane. The association issued a sustainability statement that calls for 100 percent renewable propane in California by 2030. The state sold over 500 million gallons of conventional propane in 2020.

Alafia feels the WPGA’s future is bright in the renewable space and remains inspired for the industry.

“We’re more prepared than ever to fit propane in the value proposition for those that are really looking at how [to] clean the air,” she says. “Propane is still part of that equation, absolutely.”

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at or 216-706-3748.

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