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Propane Fuels America: New Mexico

May 21, 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 New Mexico.

Total odorized propane demand (2019): 78 million gallons

U.S. rank for gallons sold: 41

Gallon sales trend: Retail gallon sales increased from 70 million gallons in 2017 to 80 million in 2018 before leveling off in 2019.

Census region/division gallons: West: 1.71 billion/Mountain: 803 billion

Propane autogas school buses/districts and contractors: 24/5

Market pointers

Photo: jjwithers/E+/Getty Images

Photo: jjwithers/E+/Getty Images

• New Mexico’s warm climate – particularly in the southern half of the state – and flat population growth limit the use of propane for space heating. The residential market accounts for more than 60 percent of a relatively small market for retail propane gallons.

• The Rocky Mountains extend south from Colorado across much of western New Mexico, generating demand for propane in mountain residences.

• Southeastern New Mexico is home to a portion of the oil-and-gas-rich Permian Basin. As such, it is the nation’s third-largest oil-producing state and among the Top 10 natural gas-producing states, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

• A recent electrification bill didn’t make it out of committee but will likely be reintroduced next year, says Dan Binning, executive director of the New Mexico Propane Gas Association. It’s a fairly liberal state, so the New Mexico Propane Gas Association has to work hard to educate the public and customers about the drawbacks of electrification, he adds.

• Some of the state’s first propane-powered school buses were purchased by Los Lunas Public Schools, Magdalena Municipal School District and Moriarty-Edgewood School District in early 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed their use, the school districts are having a positive experience with the buses, according to Roush CleanTech, which provided the fuel systems. Rehoboth Christian School also invested in propane school buses in 2020.

Fast facts

State association affiliation: New Mexico Propane Gas Association (NMPGA)/
New Mexico Propane Education & Research Foundation (NMPERF)

Programs: NMPERF funds typically one fire training class for a rural fire department per year, as well as the Certified Employee Training Program and classroom instruction.

Marquee events in 2021: The Colorado and New Mexico propane associations will host an in-person convention June 23-25 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A marketer and service technician training has been moved from the spring to the fall.

Before COVID-19: The propane industry in New Mexico had contributed $864 million to the 2018 state economy. It’s too early to assess COVID-19’s impact on the state’s gross domestic product.

“We purchased six propane bus units in 2020, and we will not purchase anything else in the future. We are planning to add at least one more propane bus soon.” – Jonathon Terborg, director of operations and transportation, Rehoboth Christian School

What’s the weather?

Average temperature (2020): 56 degrees F

Annual heating degree-days five-year average (2015-19): 4,131
U.S. average: 4,090

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

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