(October 30, 2020) — The National Propane Gas Associatiton (NPGA) reports that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved NPGA’s petition on the requalification of DOT-specification cylinders by hydrostatic testing, also known as the volumetric expansion testing method. This action, announced by PHMSA in an October 30, 2020 final rule, returns the requalification period to 12 years.

NPGA had previously identified an oversight by PHMSA as part of the agency’s development of a 2016 rule that changed 49 CFR 180.209(e), which reduced the initial requalification period for DOT-specification cylinders following volumetric expansion testing from 12 years to 10 years and increased the timeframe for requalification following a proof pressure test from 7 years to 10 years. Nowhere, in either the 2015 proposed rule or 2016 final rule, did PHMSA provide any rationale or substantiation for the changes or address them in any form. This oversight resulted in a significant, negative impact on the propane industry.

NPGA aggressively pursued resolution of this issue with PHMSA and engaged the support of members of Congress as well as prepared legal measures in order to secure a correction to this substantive, yet unjustified change. With PHMSA’s acceptance and final approval of NPGA’s petition, we estimate the regulatory savings to the propane industry to be more than $100 million per year.

The table below depicts the previous changes in the requalification periods for volumetric expansion and proof pressure testing and reflects the final changes published by PHMSA resulting from NPGA’s petition.
DOT Chart propane drivers alert DOT Approves NPGA Petition on DOT Cylinder Requalification 10302020
The changes published in the final rule takes effect on November 30, 2020, though voluntary compliance may begin on October 30, 2020.

Also, in March 2017, PHMSA published an Enforcement Discretion document that stated the agency will not take enforcement action against the requalification of DOT-specification cylinders by volumetric testing according to a 12-year period, as previously authorized in 49 CFR 180.209(e), thus, permitting either a 12- or 10-year requalification period for volumetric expansion testing. (A copy of the Enforcement Discretion document is available through the member portal of the NPGA website.) With the aforementioned changes, PHMSA announced that on November 30, 2020, PHMSA’s Enforcement Discretion document will terminate.

To address these changes, NPGA created a Fact Sheet titled DOT Cylinder Requalification Periods, which is available on the Member Dashboard.

Finally, please note this regulatory action does not impact the 5-year cylinder requalification period for the external visual inspection method.

If you have any questions, please contact NPGA's This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..