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Propane Fuels America: Virginia

January 28, 2022 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 Virginia.

Total odorized propane demand (2019): 245 million gallons

U.S. rank for gallons sold: 14

Gallon sales trend: Virginia increased its gallon sales 10 percent from 2017 to 2018, climbing to 250 million gallons, before settling at 245 million in 2019.

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

Propane autogas school buses: Out of an estimated 17,110 school buses in Virginia in 2020, 398, or 2.33 percent, were fueled by propane. In August, the state announced $10.5 million in funds from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust to replace 83 diesel school buses with electric and propane buses in 19 school districts.

Market Pointers

⦁ The residential sector accounts for over half of the state’s total propane sales, though fewer than one in 12 households heat with fuel oil, kerosene, propane or other petroleum products. The commercial sector, with 31 percent of the total propane sales, has driven most of the growth in the state’s propane demand, and opportunities are alive in the transportation sector, as well.

Ribbon-cutting photo by Will Rummel

Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham, third from left, cuts the ribbon to celebrate the first gallons of renewable propane in the Commonwealth of Virginia. From left, Alleyn Harned, Virginia Clean Cities; Petersburg Police Chief Travis Christian; Parham; Virginia state Sen. Joseph Morrissey; Stuart Weidie of Blossman Gas/Alliance AutoGas; and Tucker Perkins of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). Photo by Will Rummel

⦁ Renewable propane is being used officially in Virginia. Earlier this year, representatives from Virginia Clean Cities, Alliance AutoGas, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) and the city of Petersburg attended a ribbon-cutting event to speak on the importance of the fuel technology. The city is converting 49 vehicles in its police and shuttle vehicle fleets from gasoline to run on renewable propane.

⦁ Republicans won November races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, and took control of the state’s House of Delegates. Virginia propane industry leaders hope this transition in power will mean more opportunities for LPG, which has been pushed aside in recent years in favor of electrification, notably for Volkswagen settlement funding projects, says Zach Eisenman, executive director of the Virginia Propane Gas Association. “We’re just asking for a fair shot,” he adds.

⦁ Between 2019 and 2030, propane demand for landscaping and turf maintenance equipment could increase by 2.1 percent, according to PERC.

⦁ Southern States Cooperative, the 14th-largest propane retailer in the LP Gas Top Retailers rankings, is based in Richmond. The company sold 65 million gallons in 2020.

Fast facts

State association affiliation: Virginia Propane Gas Association (VAPGA)/, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2021

Programs: The association, through the Virginia Propane Research & Education Foundation, offers $300 safe appliance rebates and $5,000 autogas vehicle rebates to eligible marketers and applicants. The Certified Employee Training Program is offered to marketers through outreach coordinator Dennis Cruise.

Marquee events in 2022: The VAPGA will hold meetings in the spring (April 3-5 at The George Washington Hotel in Winchester), summer (July 10-13 at the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront in Virginia Beach) and fall (Oct. 2-4 at Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke).

Before COVID-19: The propane industry in Virginia had contributed over $1 billion to the 2018 state economy. It’s too early to assess COVID-19’s impact on the state’s gross domestic product.

“The biggest thing for us is consolidation and electrification. We need marketers to survive, and certainly the marketers need people to sell gas to.” – Zach Eisenman, executive director, VAPGA

What’s the weather?

Average temperature (2020): 57.4 degrees F

Annual heating degree-days five-year average (2015-19): 4,003
U.S. average: 4,090

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

Featured homepage photo: Virginia Clean Cities

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

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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