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Fight for the future of the propane industry

May 27, 2021 By    

“We must end the tyranny of oil in our time.” A quotation from the 2008 Democratic Party platform drew the line in the sand against the fossil fuel industry.

Growing sentiment in America links the fossil fuel industry to the greatest existential threat to humanity – climate change – and the damaging consequences including radical weather patterns, rising oceans and climate injustice.

Policies and regulations currently being proposed are expected to accelerate the war on propane and the fossil fuel industry to advantage electrification of everything from wind and solar.

Today, we are witnessing a multi-pronged approach both in academia and the media to sway public opinion against fossil fuels. Our industry is engaged in an epoch battle for its survival. Unless the course of climate-crisis activists is thwarted, our industry will likely not be viable in a mere 15 years.

Can our small yet significant industry be saved for the next generation? Perhaps – if we adopt the attitude expressed by Blossman Gas’ Stuart Weidie, who chairs the joint National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) Environmental Task Force: “We don’t intend to roll over.”

The days of business as usual and complacency are over – it’s all hands on deck for the ensuing battle.

The energy crisis in Texas shows what can happen when Americans are lulled into a false sense of confidence that energy will always be there when they want it and that it will be affordable. The electrification movement stole this narrative from the fossil fuel industry. The Texas tragedy is opening eyes and exposing the truth. If you haven’t already seen it, read the recent article in Forbes: “Natural gas came up short during Texas freeze but propane delivered.”

This message, coupled with our industry leadership’s strategy reflected in the joint PERC/NPGA climate change response, is strong and reflects the kind of fighting spirit needed.

When battling for survival, every propane marketer, producer and supplier must be focused on enforcing our appealing message of reliability and affordability versus the weakness of total dependency on renewables with its higher cost, intermittent reliability and reliance upon competing nations, such as China, for its raw materials.

Where and how can we each become involved? All politics is local, so become involved where you live and work: the local Rotary Club or letters to local news sources with our clean and reliable propane marketing message.

A toolkit of materials is available through NPGA and PERC, which can easily be adapted to suit the needs of individual markets.

To win this battle for the future of the propane industry, we must develop partnerships with other entities interested in a well-balanced energy policy that not only accelerates decarbonization but also addresses other environmental concerns, energy costs for American families, reliability and national security. Reasonable-minded people who do not want to see the beauty of our country spoiled by acres of solar farms and bird-killing windmills will be part of this coalition.

Our state associations are positioned well to help localize the fight by providing statistics and information on questions like: What school districts are considering buying electric school buses instead of propane-powered buses?

We have a great story to tell – we all must tell it one person and newspaper story at a time.

As we continue to invest our capital and careers in the future of the propane industry, we must not sit on the sideline while the battle rages. A quotation from Benjamin Franklin says it best: “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

The new era of energy wokeness has begun.

Randy Doyle is a 35-year, semi-retired veteran of the propane industry who consults with Holtzman Propane in Mt. Jackson, Virginia. He is a member of the NPGA board of directors and the PERC council, and is active in the Virginia Propane Gas Association. He can be reached at

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