Learned it at Pinnacle

July 1, 2005 By    

Since Pinnacle is the National Propane Gas Association’s premier educational conference, I would like to share some lessons I learned in four days of meetings and conferences in sunny Palm Springs last month.

 Patrick Hyland
Patrick Hyland
  • Propane forklifts accounted for 69,383 out of 81,819 total internal combustion engine model orders in 2004, according to the Industrial Truck Association. That’s a whopping 29 percent increase from the 53,866 orders in 2003.
  • It made the May deadline to get on the agenda for the 2007 NFPA 58 code amendments, but the proposal to allow indoor propane use in cabinet heaters is expected to see stiff resistance due to incomplete fire testing of composite cylinders. The industry hopes to eventually add 600 million gallons per year in cabinet heater sales.
  • The increasing popularity of underground tanks, combined with record-high steel prices, has launched research to find a more durable alternative material offering reduced maintenance and lower costs.
  • John Deere will decide this summer if a propane-fueled hay rehydration machine gets approval for full production in 2008. The equipment has been under development since 2003 and could eventually add 26 million gallons to summer load.
  • Members of NPGA’s Market Managers Forum are benchmarking various operating costs for bobtails, but the group says it won’t share its findings with the rest of the industry. What ever happened to the concept of the good of the industry?
  • According to manufacturers of hand-held devices, logistics software and remote tank gauges, the propane industry continues to lag years behind other industries using the technology to increase efficiency and profitability. Nobody tracks the actual use in the propane industry, but it is estimated that just 10 percent of retailers are using hand-held devices, and a scant 5 percent use logistics and remote tank monitoring products.
  • A survey of marketers attending a technology seminar shows a great deal of apprehension and misunderstanding about the cost and payback of the equipment, compared to the actual experience reported by those who use it. In fact, a full 100 percent of those using the equipment say they would make the buy again.
  • A survey of opinion leaders on Capitol Hill following NPGA’s year-long, $1 million Capital Awareness Program shows awareness of and attitude toward the fuel has improved since last fall. Most noteworthy is the increase in those who agree that propane “is important in meeting our nation’s future energy needs.”
  • The Gas Check safety inspection program is likely to be broken into two parts: storage container to appliance and a gas appliance system check. The changes are being pushed by industry lawyers.
  • Hours of service is the top concern among propane retailers, according to a survey of marketers by the NPGA’s Government Affairs Committee.
  • Arrive at the Palm Springs airport ticket gate 25 minutes before your scheduled flight departure and you will wait five hours for the next flight home.

Comments are currently closed.