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Southeast boasts an active propane industry

October 25, 2021 By    

The Southeast is a warm, balmy vacation destination in the U.S. – welcoming many northerners looking to escape the cold – but the propane industry still thrives in the region despite lacking the long and frigid winters that typically drive gallon sales.

For example, Florida has the nation’s second-fewest heating degree-days, but it ranks 16th in the U.S. for gallon sales and has more than 700 propane-fueled buses, according to the Propane Education & Research Council.

Meanwhile, Georgia ranks 17th for gallons sold, per the latest available data from 2019, with a robust agricultural market in need of propane to help farmers irrigate and dry their corn, cotton, peanuts and tobacco. In addition, propane autogas school bus manufacturer Blue Bird Corp. is headquartered in the state.

North Carolina’s high gallon sales land it in the top 10 across the country, with the residential market making up half of all gallons sold. It will also serve as a gathering point for the industry as it hosts the National Propane Gas Association’s 2024 Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo in the city of Charlotte.

Three of the four states covered this month in our Propane Fuels America series – Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina – are working together to form a regional alliance, says Corky Clark, executive director of the South Carolina Propane Gas Association.

“We feel we can offer all our members more benefits by joining together than we can as standalone associations,” Clark says.

Another feather in the cap of the Southeast’s propane industry: Florida and Georgia have both passed “freedom of choice” energy legislation to secure individuals the right to select their own energy sources. Meanwhile, North Carolina has introduced similar legislation, which has passed through the state House and is now in the hands of a Senate committee.

“There isn’t anybody in North Carolina – any counties or municipalities – that have said they were going to ban propane in new construction or anything yet, but we’ve seen so much of that in other parts of the country that we wanted to try to stop it before it got here,” says John Jessup, president and CEO of the North Carolina Propane Gas Association.

Featured image: Kolonko/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

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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