Propane Fuels America: Utah

February 26, 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 Utah.

Total odorized propane demand (2019): 63 million gallons

U.S. rank for gallons sold: 43

Gallon sales trend: Utah sold 48 million gallons in 2017 and 56 million gallons in 2018. The 31 percent growth from 2017-19 is due in part to improved data reporting by propane retailers, says Tom Clark of the Rocky Mountain Propane Association.

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

Propane autogas school buses/districts and contractors: 82/11

Market pointers

⦁ Utah has the highest population of any Rocky Mountain Propane Association (RMPA) state – Idaho, Montana and Wyoming included – but also has the least amount of gallon sales.

⦁ The popularity of natural gas and electricity in the residential sector is one reason gallons lag despite the large population. More than eight in 10 households use natural gas as their primary heating fuel. Given the number of houses that still use kerosene or wood for heating, there is an opportunity for propane to expand market share in the residential sector.

Tanks photo courtesy of Scott Lorenzen Photography

Sawtooth’s propane storage terminal near Delta, Utah, features underground salt caverns for natural gas liquids storage. Photo courtesy of Scott Lorenzen Photography

⦁ Home to five underground salt caverns near Delta, Utah, totaling 6.7 million barrels of natural gas liquids storage capacity (with refined fuel product storage on the way). As currently configured, the facility has one cavern dedicated to propane with 1.5 million barrels of storage. The facility is operated by Sawtooth Caverns LLC, a privately held joint venture between NGL Energy Partners, Haddington Ventures and Magnum Development.

⦁ When Tom Clark of the RMPA learned about a state bill that would ban cities and counties from banning natural gas, he called the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Stephen Handy, about including propane. Clark learned that Handy had heard the RMPA’s propane show on a local talk radio station and, after the two talked on the phone, planned to include propane in the bill’s terminology.

⦁ Utah has five oil refineries, all located in the Salt Lake City area, and can process nearly 200,000 barrels of crude oil per calendar day.

Fast facts

State association affiliation: Rocky Mountain Propane Association (RMPA)/

Programs: The RMPA consumer rebate program allows $200 per propane appliance and two appliances per home. Its focus is on replacing electric water heaters with propane-fueled water heaters and wood-burning stoves with propane stoves. The association also holds Certified Employee Training Program classes and promotes propane through a consumer campaign. The campaign utilizes an association podcast called The State of Energy ( and offers propane retailers a way to promote their companies on talk radio shows.

Marquee events in 2021: RMPA is a partner at the Western Propane Trade Show
& Convention in Reno, Nevada. Spring meeting March 24-26 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. (Check with the association for details and any changes due to COVID-19.)

Before COVID-19: The propane industry in Utah had contributed $506 million to the 2018 state economy. It’s too early to assess COVID-19’s impact on the state’s gross domestic product.

“Here in Utah is where I see the most challenges with [natural gas expansion and electrify everything].” – Tom Clark, executive director, RMPA

What’s the weather?

Average temperature (2019): 47.8 degrees F

Annual heating degree-days five-year average (2015-19): 6,028
U.S. average: 4,090

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

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at or 216-706-3748.

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