Recapping 2023 with ‘wonderful propane’

December 28, 2023 By    

“I didn’t know propane could do that.”

I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it, and Tucker Perkins certainly has heard it. In fact, the president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) says it’s the most frustrating part of his job: Getting people outside the industry to truly understand the many benefits, applications and possibilities of the fuel, especially as we look toward a low-carbon future.

A look back on the year in propane reveals significant impacts of LPG and some cool uses along the way.

Natural disaster response

Propane prevails in natural disasters, the portable nature of the fuel allowing it to go where it’s needed most.

Before 2023 began, we learned of a magnitude 6.4 California earthquake and a Buffalo blizzard; in the coming months, a Texas ice storm, Kentucky windstorm, tornado outbreak in the Midwest and South, and flooding in Vermont; monthslong wildfires in Canada and destructive blazes in Maui.

It is exactly at these unsettling times when propane provides relief for first responders and generates power when the electric grid fails.

Stan Hays will tell you. The co-founder and CEO of Operation BBQ Relief spoke at National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) winter meetings in New Orleans. Propane industry companies support this network of volunteers feeding people following natural disasters.

Vehicle fleet fuel

Dave Wager, executive director of the Minnesota Propane Association, got behind the wheel of a bi-fuel Ford Explorer this year to prove the overall benefits of autogas vehicles. He drove about 3,500 miles – 89 percent of the trip on propane – and into eight states.

Wager calls “recognition of our product” one of the industry’s biggest hurdles and hopes his road trip, which strengthened his belief in autogas, made a difference.

School districts across the country continue to fuel buses with autogas, and the Clean School Bus Rebate Program gives transportation directors another reason to move away from diesel and toward cleaner, lower-cost propane. One bus in Minnesota even reached 250,000 miles this year.

U.S. Postal Service contractors are following the same route with autogas vehicles.

Power for EV charging

Propane joining the electric vehicle (EV) movement this year was an eye-opener.

Not only is a propane autogas dispenser part of a unique refueling system unveiled this year, but the portable unit combines a propane generator with wind and solar power to create its own microgrid and recharge electric vehicles. Several companies are now using propane as a power source in their off-grid EV charging systems.

The industry is even touting this propane-powered charging system to schools that still choose EV buses.

All perfect examples of how multiple energy sources can work together to provide reliable, lower-carbon solutions.

Help for the heat pump

From electric vehicles to the electric heat pump, propane meets consumer needs.

Industry leaders made strides this year on a hydronic backup space heating solution that works off a propane-fueled tankless water heater and gives homeowners using electric heat pumps low-cost comfort and reliability when temperatures drop and their electric appliances can’t keep up.

Before the year ended, PERC approved $400,000 to help the industry learn more about the technology.

And so much more

From wide-ranging power generation applications to port tractors, even to a large-scale water heating system at historic Ruby’s Inn in Utah, versatile, conventional propane continues to flow across markets.

We haven’t even touched on renewable propane, dimethyl ether and other renewables that could pair well with propane into the future.

That’s what our State of the Industry report is designed to do.

As we end another year, and in Wager’s words, “Let’s all do our part to get the word out on all the advantages of our wonderful propane.”

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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