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Propane Fuels America: Oklahoma

August 6, 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 Oklahoma.

Total odorized propane demand (2019): 148 million gallons

U.S. rank for gallons sold: 23

Gallon sales trend: Oklahoma sold 120 million gallons of propane in 2017 and 148 million gallons in 2019, an increase of 23 percent.

Census region/division gallons: South: 2.61 billion/West South Central: 747 million

Propane autogas school buses/districts and contractors: 39/13


GracedByTheLight/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Oklahoma experiences extreme weather events throughout the year that affect its propane industry. Photo: GracedByTheLight/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Market pointers

⦁ Throughout the year, Oklahoma experiences a range of extreme weather events – cold winters, floods, tornadoes and droughts, ultimately affecting the propane industry. “It affects our industry in a way that is not only personal to our marketers, but obviously as a whole, we want everybody to be safe,” says Kris Sanders, executive director of the Oklahoma Propane Gas Association (OPGA). “That is our No. 1 goal of this industry: safety.”

⦁ The residential market is Oklahoma’s largest in terms of gallons sold, making up 56 percent of its 2019 sales. In addition, numerous farming communities use propane not just to heat their homes, but also dry crops and heat lodging for their animals, Sanders says.

⦁ Oklahoma’s state legislature passed a preemptive “ban-the-ban” bill in May 2020, allowing builders and homeowners to choose their energy sources based on preference and availability. “If propane is available where they are, they can have propane,” Sanders says.

⦁ Sanders sees propane-fueled buses as an area of growth for the state’s industry and plans to focus on that market in the future. As school districts realize how propane buses improve their bottom lines, Sanders says, opportunities will emerge to add more to fleets.

⦁ The two nearest terminals to Oklahoma are Conway, Kansas, and Mont Belvieu, Texas. During the 2020-21 polar vortex in Oklahoma, propane retailers worked together to keep customers’ tanks full, according to Sanders. “Even though they are competitors in business, they all have the same goal in mind,” she says of Oklahoma’s propane retailers. “They want to make sure that nobody will go cold or lose the ability to heat their home or prepare meals or have a hot shower.”


Fast facts

State association affiliation: Oklahoma Propane Gas Association (OPGA)/okpropane.org

Programs: OPGA is working with the Propane Education & Research Council to initiate an environmental campaign promoting propane as a clean, low-emissions fuel in the state. In addition, OPGA is working with its safety campaign to help propane customers know what to do in the case of severe weather events, from tornadoes to polar vortexes.

Marquee events in 2021: OPGA will resume in-person board meetings late summer and early fall.

Before COVID-19: The propane industry in Oklahoma had contributed more than $1.9 billion to the 2018 state economy. It’s too early to assess COVID-19’s impact on the state’s gross domestic product.

“[Weather] affects our industry in a way that is not only personal to our marketers, but obviously as a whole, we want everybody to be safe. That is our No. 1 goal of this industry: safety.” – Kris Sanders, executive director, Oklahoma Propane Gas Association


What’s the weather?

Average temperature (2020): 60.7 degrees F

Annual heating degree-days five-year average (2015-19): 3,436
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; Oklahoma Propane Gas Association; 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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