Infrastructure package includes incentives for propane

November 18, 2021 By    

President Joe Biden signed sweeping federal infrastructure legislation this week that will provide the propane industry with access of up to $7 billion to help establish refueling stations along the nation’s highways and put more propane-fueled buses on the roads.

Propane refueling infrastructure photo courtesy of Roush CleanTech

The Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, Indiana, fuels school buses with propane. New infrastructure legislation includes incentives for propane-fueled school buses. Photo courtesy of Roush CleanTech

The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) says it has urged Congress over the past three years to include funding for propane in provisions adopted in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, which aims to improve the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems.

“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to ensure that propane gets a fair shake, that we secure some level of parity,” says Michael Baker, senior director of legislative affairs for NPGA. “To that extent, we were hugely successful.”

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, NPGA says, will provide members with an array of new funding opportunities to help the industry transition into the next generation.

NPGA President and CEO Steve Kaminski says a clean-corridors grant program is one of the key provisions for the industry.

“The program makes propane eligible for new fueling stations on the federal highway system,” he says.

Baker says the original draft legislation left propane off the list of qualified alternative fuels, but the final bill adds $2.5 billion in grant funding for the installation of charging and fueling infrastructure – and includes propane.

“We had to explain why propane was a viable alternative fuel in the transportation sector and highlight the fact that electricity and hydrogen don’t have solutions in the medium- and heavy-duty space,” Baker says. “And if Congress doesn’t find a way to provide government incentives to adopt propane or natural gas, they’re going to put more diesel trucks on the road for the foreseeable future.”

The program, Baker says, opened the door for propane in other areas of the bill. Here are the highlights:

  • Grants for charging and fueling infrastructure: Access to $2.5 billion in grant funding for propane refueling infrastructure along the national highway system.
  • Clean school bus program: Access to $2.5 billion in grant funding for propane school buses. School bus manufacturer Blue Bird says it was encouraged by the administration’s inclusion of student transportation in the bipartisan infrastructure deal. The company has over 20,000 propane buses in operation, and it says propane bus sales continue to grow year over year.
  • Grants for buses and bus facilities: Access to $1.6 billion in grant funding for propane low-emission transit vehicles.
  • Apprenticeship pilot program: Based on the DRIVE-Safe Act, this pilot program seeks to address the nationwide driver shortage by permitting a trial group of drivers ages 18-21 to participate in interstate commerce.

Other beneficial provisions of the legislation include federal funding for emissions reductions at port facilities, workforce development and propane-powered ferries.

“The port piece is exciting to us,” says Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council, noting the widespread use of diesel at ports and the available propane applications, such as tractors, material handlers and support vehicles, that can help lower emissions.

Propane stands to benefit from additional legislation – a budget reconciliation package referred to as the Build Back Better Act – that Congress discussed with the infrastructure package negotiations. Potential benefits for propane include a five-year extension of the alternative fuel tax credit as well as incentives for renewable fuel production, Baker says.

While Baker is optimistic about the Build Back Better legislation, he’s reveling in the signed-and-delivered infrastructure deal.

“The inclusion of propane really highlights the fact that Congress has an understanding of the role propane can play in reducing emissions,” he says.

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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