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Propane Fuels America: South Carolina

October 22, 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 South Carolina.

Total odorized propane demand (2019): 96 million gallons

U.S. rank for gallons sold: 38

Gallon sales trend: South Carolina sold 104 million gallons of propane in 2017 and 96 million gallons in 2019, a decrease of 8 percent.

Census region/division gallons: South: 2.61 billion/South Atlantic: 1.37 billion

Propane autogas school buses/districts and contractors: 281/6


Market Pointers

Photo: pabradyphoto/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Thirty-one percent of South Carolina’s commercial propane demand is dependent on weather conditions. Commercial is the second-largest market and makes up 30 percent of total gallon sales. (Photo: pabradyphoto/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

⦁ Residential is South Carolina’s largest sector for propane usage – at 41 percent of its total gallon sales. Commercial is the second-largest market and makes up 30 percent of total gallon sales.

⦁ The electrification movement has not greatly impacted South Carolina, says Corky Clark, executive director of the South Carolina Propane Gas Association (SCPGA). The association had considered pursuing a “consumer choice” coalition with the state’s natural gas distribution companies, but South Carolina is a “home rule” state, meaning cities and other municipalities are able to govern themselves, “so passing legislation for the entire state would most likely be ignored by many cities,” Clark explains.

⦁ SCPGA is a gold sponsor of the “Be Pro Be Proud” initiative in South Carolina. The program aims to showcase skilled-profession careers across the state through a hands-on, 53-ft. mobile display and interactive stations representing on-the-job experiences, ultimately attracting younger-generation professionals and improving workforce development in the propane industry.

⦁ The state association prioritizes training and was able to continue its in-person Certified Employee Training Program and other educational training classes even through the pandemic. During those classes, Clark says, attendees were able to socially distance while still meeting the training requirements.

⦁ The number of propane autogas buses is growing in South Carolina. SCPGA says it has been active in promoting their use in the state. The state was allotted $9.3 million from the Volkswagen settlement, of which $7.8 million went to the South Carolina Department of Education for propane school buses, Clark says.


Fast facts

State association affiliation: South Carolina Propane Gas Association (SCPGA)/scpropane.com

Programs: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, SCPGA was about to begin a legislative push for its own state check-off program to supplement its national funding from the Propane Education & Research Council so the association can provide advertising and appliance rebates to promote propane. SCPGA says it plans to begin that effort again in 2023.

Marquee events in 2021: SCPGA is hosting its 2021 fall meeting and Marketer Appreciation Day on Sept. 20 in Santee, South Carolina. In addition, the association will hold the 2021 SCPGA Employee Training Day on Oct. 4 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Before COVID-19: The propane industry in South Carolina had contributed about $579 million to the 2018 state economy. It’s too early to assess COVID-19’s impact on the state’s gross domestic product.

“We have worked diligently to promote propane for school buses in South Carolina.” – Corky Clark, executive director, South Carolina Propane Gas Association


What’s the weather?

Average temperature (2020): 64.7 degrees F

Annual heating degree-days five-year average (2015-19): 2,449
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; South Carolina Propane Gas Association; U.S. Energy Information Administration’s State Energy Profiles

This article is tagged with and posted in Current Issue, Featured, From the Magazine

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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