Propane Fuels America: Pennsylvania

March 19, 2021 By    
Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association

Residential customers accounted for more than 62 percent of Pennsylvania’s 2019 gallon sales. Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association

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 Pennsylvania.

Total odorized propane demand (2019): 402 million gallons

U.S. rank for gallons sold: 9

Gallon sales trend: Pennsylvania sold 331 million gallons of propane in 2017 and 402 million in 2019, a 21.5 percent increase. The upswing is due in part to the growing residential and internal combustion markets, says Shelby Bell, executive director of the Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association.

Census region/division gallons: Northeast: 1.69 billion/Middle Atlantic: 915 million

Propane autogas school buses/districts and contractors: 1,352/73

Market pointers 

⦁ The propane industry officially began in Pennsylvania on May 17, 1912, when the first residential LPG system was installed at a farmhouse near Waterford, Pennsylvania. Chemist Walter O. Snelling of Allentown had uncovered the properties of propane in 1910, paving the way for the industry’s first domestic users two years later.

⦁ More than 62 percent of the state’s 2019 gallon sales came from residential customers, the Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association (PAPGA) says, and its propane autogas market is growing. The state ranks third in the U.S. for its number of autogas-fueled school buses.

Beth Donovan headshot


⦁ Pennsylvania has a number of supply points, leading to relatively reliable supply for the industry. The Marcus Hook Industrial Complex serves as a supply point and an export terminal, according to PAPGA.

⦁ Despite overall gallons growth, Pennsylvania saw a significant decrease in 2019 for the agricultural and industrial markets. PAPGA does see an opportunity in the hemp market with the state’s legalization of medical marijuana.

PAPGA elected its first female president, Beth Donovan. Donovan is the director of propane operations for Shipley Energy and has served on PAPGA’s board since 2004.

Fast facts

State association affiliation: Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association (PAPGA)/

Programs: GeneratioNext Propane Pros is a workforce development program designed to promote the propane industry as a viable career choice for students, energy professionals, adult education learners and veterans, as well as provide an online platform for propane marketers and applicants to connect. It includes a no-cost web platform where students and graduates can post their resumes and search potential employers. Propane retailers can create a company profile, post career opportunities and find prospective candidates based on location and interests.

Marquee events in 2021: While all meetings are virtual until further notice, PAPGA plans to host its fall membership/board of directors meeting in person on Oct. 7 at The Hotel Hershey in Hershey.

“Many fleets, especially closer to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, are converting their vehicles to operate with clean and economical propane autogas.” – Shelby Bell, executive director, PAPGA

What’s the weather?

Average temperature (2019): 51.2 degrees F

Annual heating degree-days five-year average (2015-19): 5,516
U.S. average: 4,090

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

About the Author:

Carly Bemer (McFadden) was the managing editor at LP Gas magazine.

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