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Exploring propane’s value at state, national levels

February 19, 2018 By    

Your companies are under attack.

Local regulatory and environmental efforts are being made in parts of the United States, particularly in the Pacific and Northeast regions, to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels. That means hydrocarbon fuels like natural gas and low-carbon propane are being brushed aside in favor of electricity. It also means a greater push for renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

Energy industry consultancy ICF warned of these new risks to residential and commercial propane markets in our December State of the Industry report. It’s also why some industry leaders are calling for the development of renewable propane.

When you hear phrases like “War on fossil fuels” and you see efforts taking place to oust an entire energy source, such as the one on which you’ve built a livelihood, I imagine you become a bit unsettled. Maybe doubts begin to form, and you wonder about the future of your business and the security of your family.
On the offensive

The battle lines are being drawn on some pretty heavy issues and the time has come for the propane industry to fight back.

Why should anti-fossil fuel interests make you feel as if the product you offer is inferior to other energy sources – when, in reality, what you offer is clean, portable and versatile? You offer a needed service and solution to your customers, in an industry that’s prevailed for more than 100 years, and you’re not going anywhere.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), total fossil fuel production in the United States this year will average almost 73 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), the highest level of production on record (see page 26). EIA expects total fossil fuel production to then set another record in 2019, with production forecast to rise to 75 quadrillion Btu. We’re talking hydrocarbon gas liquids like propane, as well as dry natural gas, crude oil and coal.

That’s not all. The products and services you offer to your customers also add value to U.S. and state economies, as the odorized propane industry employs tens of thousands of people and generates billions of dollars in wages. And the industry has the data to prove it.

Propane’s impact

Last September, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) updated – for the fourth time – a report called “Impact of the U.S. Consumer Propane Industry on U.S. and State Economies.” The document estimates the aggregate gross domestic product impacts due to propane industry activity, as well as the contribution of the propane industry to employment and wages at the state and national level.

The report, which ICF prepared for PERC, analyzes data from 2015 and highlights key changes from the previous report in 2012. For example, the odorized propane industry’s direct economic impact in 2015 increased to $46.2 billion – a near $6 billion increase from 2012.

What’s more, the report includes state-by-state summaries showing propane sales by market sector and the industry’s contribution to the state economy, as well as employment, labor income and propane production data.

These state profiles are valuable for association leaders and propane marketers when talking to elected officials or other key decision makers about the industry, says Bridget Kidd, senior vice president of industry relations at PERC.

“Marketers are working in an industry that positively impacts the economy of these states, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly,” Kidd says. “It’s something to rally around and share with employees.”

Especially in today’s high-stakes energy environment, with outside interests jockeying for position and wanting to take away propane’s market share, it’s important to know that such a report exists. Use it and other tools like it to your advantage. It’s available for free at, search word “economies.”

You’ve heard this before, but if you don’t promote your company, your industry and the value of what you offer to your customers and community, who will?

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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