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Propane Fuels America: Massachusetts

August 30, 2021 By    

LP Gas’ yearlong Propane Fuels America series takes a deep dive into how each state benefits from the propane industry. Here’s our report on Massachusetts.

Total odorized propane demand (2019): 154 million gallons

U.S. rank for gallons sold: 22

Gallon sales trend: Massachusetts sold 122 million gallons of propane in 2017 and 154 million gallons in 2019, an increase of 26 percent.

Census region/division gallons: Northeast: 1.69 billion/New England: 775 million

Propane autogas school buses/districts and contractors: 367/5


Market pointers

Massachusetts Photo: DenisTangneyJr/E+/Getty Images

Massachusetts’ residential sector makes up 69 percent of the state’s total gallon sales. Photo: DenisTangneyJr/E+/Getty Images

⦁ One of the largest threats the propane industry in Massachusetts faces is with state legislation and local ordinances, says Leslie Anderson, president and CEO of the Propane Gas Association of New England (PGANE). The state has seen some local ordinances that propose to eliminate the use of any combustion fuels in new construction.

⦁ The areas most affected by electrification are in and around Boston. Anderson says these areas are mainly served by natural gas rather than propane, so the impact on the industry isn’t outsized. But PGANE is concerned that the “wave” will extend outside of those communities and affect more towns across Massachusetts.

⦁ The residential market is Massachusetts’ largest for propane, contributing to 69 percent of the state’s total gallon sales. The state has a vast rural area, and Anderson says that residents have a lot of land around their houses – even in the larger cities – where natural gas doesn’t run, adding to the appeal of propane for residential heating.

⦁ Massachusetts ranks No. 19 in the nation for its use of propane school buses as of 2020, according to the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). Most of those buses are concentrated in Boston, providing an opportunity to grow into other areas of the state.

⦁ The commercial market is Massachusetts’ second-largest in terms of gallon sales, making up 21 percent of the state’s total. In addition, 75 percent of the state’s forklifts were fueled by propane in 2020, PERC says.


Fast facts

State association affiliation: Propane Gas Association of New England (PGANE)/pgane.org

Programs: PGANE is working on combining the new branding from the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) with the association’s branding to regionalize PERC’s message that propane is a clean-energy solution.

Marquee events in 2021: PGANE will host its fall meeting Oct. 13-14 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In addition, PGANE is hosting regional meetings throughout the month of August, with one scheduled to take place Aug. 17 in North Oxford, Massachusetts.

Before COVID-19: The propane industry in Massachusetts had contributed more than $615 million to the 2018 state economy. It’s too early to assess COVID-19’s impact on the state’s gross domestic product.

“When you get outside of Boston, there’s propane all the way from the outside loop of Boston across to the western side of the state.” – Leslie Anderson, president and CEO, Propane Gas Association of New England


What’s the weather?

Average temperature (2020): 50.9 degrees F

Annual heating degree-days five-year average (2015-19): 6,023
U.S. average: 4,090


Sources: Propane Education & Research Council’s U.S. National and State Propane Market Profiles; Annual Retail Propane Sales Report; propane.com; Propane Gas Association of New England; U.S. Energy Information Administration’s State Energy Profiles

About the Author:

Carly McFadden is associate editor at LP Gas Magazine. She is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and a native of Cleveland, Ohio. McFadden can be reached at cmcfadden@northcoastmedia.net.

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