Propane Fuels America: Michigan

December 3, 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 Michigan.

Total odorized propane demand (2019): 587 million gallons

U.S. rank for gallons sold: 1

Gallon sales trend: Michigan saw a 16 percent increase in gallon sales from 489 million gallons in 2017 to 569 million in 2018. A modest 3 percent increase occurred from 2018 to 2019.

Census region/division gallons: Midwest: 4.13 billion/East North Central: 2.19 billion

Propane autogas school buses/districts and contractors: Of an estimated 16,192 school buses in Michigan in 2020, 725 were fueled by propane, according to the Propane Education & Research Council. Electrification poses a threat to propane adoption. Most Volkswagen settlement funds go to electric vehicles, says Derek Dalling of the Michigan Propane Gas Association.

Market Pointers

Livonia-based Roush CleanTech outfits Ford’s 7.3-liter Godzilla V8 engine to run on propane. (Photo courtesy of Michigan Propane Gas Association)

Livonia-based Roush CleanTech outfits Ford’s 7.3-liter Godzilla V8 engine to run on propane. (Photo courtesy of Michigan Propane Gas Association)

⦁ Michigan ranks No. 1 in the country for total retail propane gallon sales and residential gallon sales. In 2019, about 335,000 households used propane as a primary space-heating fuel. A substantial stock of secondary homes, like cottages and hunting cabins, also supports residential gallons.

⦁ Ongoing suburban and rural population growth is a trend to watch in the residential market, says Derek Dalling, executive director of the Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA). Residents are investing in propane-powered secondary homes.

⦁ This year, MPGA members defeated an appropriation that would have allowed the two largest regulated utilities in Michigan – which provide natural gas and electricity – to use $250 million in taxpayer funds to extend natural gas lines in rural areas, impinging upon propane country. MPGA will continue to face the threat of natural gas expansion, says Dalling, as it anticipates the introduction of a new bill this fall.

⦁ Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is pursuing an aggressive electrification agenda. In May, she ordered Enbridge to cease operation of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. Despite the order, Enbridge continues to move crude and natural gas liquids, including propane, through the pipeline.

Fast facts

State association affiliation: Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA)/

Programs: This year, the Michigan Propane Commission state checkoff program began assessing one-tenth of a cent per gallon of propane consumed in Michigan. The commission is pursuing an appliance rebate program with a focus on water heaters. In addition, MPGA members are working to establish a group retirement program to lower costs for business owners and employees and to help attract new employees.

Marquee events in 2022: The Indiana, Michigan and Ohio propane associations are collaborating for the first time on the Great Lakes Propane Convention, scheduled for July 26-28, 2022, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Before COVID-19: The propane industry in Michigan had contributed about $3 billion to the 2018 state economy. It’s too early to assess COVID-19’s impact on the state’s gross domestic product.

“If Line 5 goes away, those ripple effects would be felt from probably the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Rocky Mountains, with all of the displaced fuel and displaced retailers in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and all of the areas here in the Great Lakes having to go that much farther to find propane.” – Derek Dalling, executive director, Michigan Propane Gas Association

What’s the weather?

Average temperature (2020): 46.5 degrees F

Annual heating degree-days five-year average (2015-19): 6,594
U.S. average: 4,090

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

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