EPA Issues Final Clean Energy Rule

(July 8, 2019) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its final Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, replacing the previous administration’s “overreaching” Clean Power Plan with a regulation it says restores the rule of law and empowers states to continue to reduce emissions while providing affordable and reliable energy for all Americans.

EPA logoThe June 19 action was the culmination of a review of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which was done in response to President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13873—Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. The move also follows challenges from a large number of states, trade associations, rural electric cooperatives, and labor unions, who argued the CPP exceeded EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act. Writing of a new final rule also came after a stay of CPP by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016.

“Today, we are delivering on one of President Trump’s core priorities: ensuring the American public has access to affordable, reliable energy in a manner that continues our nation’s environmental progress,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Unlike the Clean Power Plan, ACE adheres to the Clean Air Act and gives states the regulatory certainty they need to continue to reduce emissions and provide a dependable, diverse supply of electricity that all Americans can afford. When ACE is fully implemented, we expect to see U.S. power sector CO2 emissions fall by as much as 35% below 2005 levels.”

The ACE rule establishes emissions guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit carbon dioxide, or CO2, at their coal-fired power plants. Specifically, ACE identifies heat rate improvements as the best system of emission reduction for CO2 from coal-fired plants, and these improvements can be made at individual facilities. States will have three years to submit plans, which is in line with other planning timelines under the Clean Air Act.

Also contained in the rule are new implementing regulations for ACE and future existing-source rules under Clean Air Act Section 111(d). These guidelines will inform states as they set unit-specific standards of performance. For example, states can take a particular source’s remaining useful life and other factors into account when establishing a standard of performance for that source.

ACE will reduce emissions of CO2 and mercury, as well as precursors for pollutants like fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone. In 2030, the ACE rule is projected to reduce CO2 emissions by 11 million short tons; pare sulfur dioxides by 5700 tons, reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 7100 tons; cut particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions by 400 tons; and reduce mercury emissions by 59 pounds. EPA projects that ACE will result in annual net benefits of $120 million to $730 million, including costs, domestic climate benefits, and health co-benefits. With ACE, along with additional expected emissions reductions based on long-term industry trends, the administration expects to see CO2 emissions from the electric sector fall by as much as 35% below 2005 levels in 2030. More information, including a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice and fact sheets, are available at epa.gov.

(Reprinted courtesy The Weekly Propane Newsletter, July 8, 2019)

Efforts Underway To Recruit Propane Service Techs

To grow gallons, the propane industry must recruit and develop technicians who can service and sell propane appliances. So says Mike Davis, president of Davis Propane (Cochran, Ga.). He says the industry must introduce students to propane when they are in middle school and high school, and must provide a curriculum for propane appliances they can study when they are in technical school or community college.

Tech School Training For Propane Service Jobs 062019 BPNDavis has been doing just that by working with schools throughout the state of Georgia. He began this effort four years ago. His company, an independent propane company serving middle Georgia, had been losing business to heat pumps. “I went to a local HVAC dealer and asked why they weren’t selling gas units,” Davis told BPN. “He said they didn’t have people to work on gas units because the students weren’t taught about them in technical schools.”

Davis took this message to his industry peers in the Georgia Propane Gas Association (GPGA). In a roundtable discussion, the board decided to make working with technical schools one of the association’s priorities. He then met with one of the local technical schools and learned that they weren’t teaching gas because they didn’t have the curriculum. Next, Davis contacted the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). In just a matter of months, PERC developed a curriculum for HVAC classes in technical schools. Davis then met with all the technical schools in Georgia and showed them the PERC material. After reviewing it, the schools added it to their HVAC curriculum. GPGA then donated gas furnaces for use in training to every technical school in Georgia.

“The schools I’ve talked with are hungry for curriculum,” Davis says. “They were glad to hear about the PERC curriculum that will help them teach gas in the classroom.” “Now their students can work on gas appliances and introduce them to their customers,” he adds. “There are 930 students in the HVAC programs at the 22 technical schools in Georgia. Those students will be in the field, growing the workforce and growing gallons.”

Next, this will be a pilot program for a national apprenticeship program being developed by the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA). Also working on this project are PERC, GPGA, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Georgia Office of Workforce Development. Davis also has been striving to recruit students to attend those technical schools and sign up for HVAC classes.

Technical School Training For Propane Service Techs 062019RECRUITING STUDENTS
For example, Davis Propane participates in a career day at a middle school every year. “They say, ‘There’s the gas man!’ We take a service truck and a bobtail and we let the kids jump in. We familiarize them with what we do. Their next questions are, ‘How much can we make?’ and ‘Do we have to go to school?’ We tell them what they can make and that they don’t have to get a four-year degree; they can work part time and go to school part time. We also give them literature to take home that shows what propane does in homes and farms. We have to teach everyone that we have a clean, green product that provides heat.”Tech Schools For Propane Service BPN 062019

For students who are nearing the end of their time in high school, NPGA offers several scholarships. “We need to recruit HVAC students out of our high schools,” Davis says. “An instructor told me that you’re not going to get the college-bound kids, but you can get those who are in the undecided median.

If those kids leave school with no prospects, they’re going to get in trouble. We need to get them into an HVAC program before then.”

“We need the technical schools for workforce development and for growing gallons,” he adds. “We need people in the industry to get involved with the schools so they know about propane, which is the cleanest fuel we have. When gallons were growing, we didn’t sell what we had, so it stopped. Now we are having to catch back up. The technical schools can help.”  — Steve Relyea

(©Butane-Propane News, June 2019)

Propane Needs Seat At Table: Ensuring Policy Influence

The U.S. propane market is changing. There are warning signs on the near-horizon, counsels ICF International’s 2019 propane market outlook. That cautionary forecast comes despite a national supply revolution that has yielded American-made fuel abundance unimagined just a short decade ago. Moreover, the Fairfax, Va.-based consultancy and business intelligence provider advises that the propane retail segment is at risk, a vulnerability that can only be blunted by a resolute, industrywide growth mindset to reverse negative trends and grow sales. By rethinking traditional business models and seizing available opportunities, the propane industry can, however, rise above the challenges.

Sloan propane interview BPN 062019PERIOD OF MARKET TRANSITION
ICF’s rundown recognizes that the propane industry has entered a period of market transition, driven by changing demographics, new technologies and, most critically, shifting regulatory priorities. While growth in U.S. propane production and supply will continue—far outstripping domestic demand and leading to ever-rising exports—those factors, while positive for satisfying local demand, ensuring energy security, and bolstering the country’s trade balance, will nonetheless not positively shape the home consumer market going forward.

Michael Sloan, managing director and principal at ICF International, surveyed the propane landscape at the 2019 National Propane Gas Association Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo in Atlanta, Ga. His emphasis: the environmental policy debate will shape the market. The “decarbonization through electrification” movement will create significant headwinds to any fossil fuel use. Defensive positions will only result in slowing a declining market.
Sloan presents talk on propane place at cleanfuel tableSELLING SERVICES VS. SELLING GALLONS
“If marketers are not involved in the policy development process today, they’re going to be hurt by what happens five to 10 years down the road,” he asserts. “That’s the most important message I can give to the industry. Plus, think about your business models. Think about ways of providing higher-value services with less reliance on volume throughput. So, selling services, selling reliability, selling resilience, as opposed to selling gallons.”

Positing that, What’s Past is Prologue! from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”—history sets context for the present—he reviewed that energy efficiency is eroding market and per-customer propane volumes that are not being offset by additional numbers of new propane appliances. Competition with electricity is rising with household conversions, and warmer weather trends in the past five years have resulted in temperatures toastier than the 20-year average.

If the past defines the future, U.S. propane sales will decline to 7.5 billion gallons by 2030, with a sustained drop in the residential and commercial sectors. As a comparison, odorized U.S. retail propane sales of 8.2 billion gallons were calculated by ICF International in 2017, the latest data available, a total 4.5% below the 10-year average of 8.6 billion gallons a year.
Sloan 3 presents propane outlook 2020“When we’re looking at the trends that have driven the declines in propane demand in the last 15 years, they’re related to energy efficiency and declines in sales per customer tied to energy efficiency,” notes Sloan, “as well as competition with mostly electricity, some from natural gas, but mostly electricity. And those are trends that are going to continue over time.”

He adds that the ongoing energy efficiency trends “are built into the system. They are a natural outgrowth of sales of new, more efficient, equipment and new building codes. Competition with electricity is actually going to get more competitive in the next few years.”

Sloan also affirms that “decarbonization policies related to climate change will be the biggest threat to the propane industry over the next 10 years.” In many markets, the threat is “existential.” He adds that the story for residential markets remains similar to prior years—significant headwinds are ahead, but opportunities are on offer for growth.

Overall, residential housing markets are improving, but market strengthening is not propane-friendly. Sustained conversion of fueloil customers proceeds apace, but there is increased pressure from electric conversions. The number of residential propane customers is expected to remain flat, although there will be modest growth in the Northeast region—but a fall-off in the South. Total residential propane sales are expected to fade slowly, with long-term efficiency trends continuing to reduce per-customer use.

In addition, Sloan outlined that there’s a slow recovery for new housing construction. Whereas 2018 housing starts are expected to be up 6% to 7% from 2017, and additional growth is projected for 2019 and 2020, the uptick has slowed. Risks of rising interest rates have hampered home ownership, and there are recessionary concerns for 2020. Meanwhile, the southern U.S. continues to lead new-home starts. But the market share in new residential building for propane remains at low levels, although propane market share increased 5% in 2017 versus 4.5% in 2016. Noted is that propane’s share of new construction has not yet recovered from pre-recession levels.

Moreover, most of the growth in new housing starts is in markets where propane’s share is limited; new construction is weighted toward large developments, and there is limited growth in custom, owner-built residences, which favor propane. At the same time, fueloil conversions represent a markedly declining opportunity. But such conversions currently add about 30,000 households a year. ICF International tallied fueloil-heated dwellings falling by 2 million between 2009 and 2017, with a good portion being captured by propane. But electricity is capturing a growing share of conversions, particularly in multifamily construction.

Sloan underscored that space heating fuel choices are highly dependent on regional climates. Electricity has expanded its share of space heating across the South and Southeast, and that choice remains the top new fuel for household heating nationally. Concurrently, propane faces different competitive factors based on regional and local fuel primacy. Propane’s latter-day growth focused on replacing fueloil in areas with high new construction, while electricity’s share gained in the majority of counties that propane lost market share.

Total propane households have retreated from the highs seen in 2006. Nationally, long-term trends are not favorable for a recovery in propane-heated residences. ICF has revised downward its forecast for fueloil household conversions, a slowing due to declining market potential and growth in electric conversions. Manufactured housing continues to decline as well, a previously targeted market for propane. Nevertheless, there are pockets of growth in that segment.

“There are new generations of electric heat pumps that will be more competitive in the northern, colder climates,” Sloan observes. “The propane industry needs to be thinking about, needs to be prepared for, ways to market their products going forward. That’s where propane needs to look, at where we are today and make changes to how it is approaching the market. It’s going to be hard to increase sales in some of the core markets, so the propane industry needs to develop a higher-value service approach that generates margins on lower volumes in that market. But new markets must also be developed.”

ICF International’s outlook isn’t all gloom, doom, and obstacles. Most engine fuel markets should see continued growth as new products become more widely accepted, among them on-road vehicles and mowers. Forklift markets will face challenges from electric trucks and changes in commercial market operations, but there is a path for a new generation of forklifts to grow demand. And lower propane prices improve propane’s competitive position.

Furthermore, the agricultural markets should see solid growth, supported by engine applications that include irrigation engines and space heating. While irrigation engine sales will rise or fall based on weather conditions, low farm commodity prices delay new equipment investment.

Sloan highlights that “sales growth will be primarily in the engine fuel market with continued penetration of propane autogas vehicles but also agricultural engines.” And the potential for propane in the transportation sector is “transformative” for the industry. He points out that capturing 2% of the light-duty vehicle market would increase propane demand by 3 billion gallons. Just a 0.25% hike would double current autogas sales. The pushback against the future growth of alternative-fueled vehicle sales for propane is expected to be concentrated in electric vehicles.

“I think from the opportunities side it’s very clearly in the engine fuel market. If propane is successful in capturing just a tiny part of the overall engine fuel market, demand growth would be as much as 3 billion gallons a year. That’s 1% of the light-duty vehicle markets, a fairly significant share of the school bus market, and a 5% to 10% share of the various other engine markets.”

Among other low-hanging pickings is water heating in U.S. households that now use propane space heating. ICF estimates that half of them use other fuels to heat their water. Separately, there’s a shot at capturing water heating load in households with electric heat. Propane has a higher market share of energy-efficient tankless water heaters than tank heaters. Once more, 2.7 million electric-heated households that are off the natural gas mains are in areas with an average temperature of less than 40°F.

Displacing fueloil in older commercial buildings holds promise. About 300 million gallons of fueloil were used in commercial buildings that also used propane. There are also propane-fueled distributed-energy opportunities. Emerging micro-combined heat and power (CHP) technology plug-ins for small commercial and large residential applications are afforded. Facilities off the mains need CHP load support, and there is also a need for underpinning electric grid resiliency and reliability. Again, a higher sales penetration in agricultural markets is called for. If achieved, load builds would be significant.

To recap and expand, ICF International identifies risks to the retail propane market involving a continued loss of market share to electricity in warmer regions of the country. Those losses are accompanied by improvements in electric heat-pump technology that threatens markets in colder climates as well. In short, heat pumps are getting better at pushing out hot air. On top of that, states and local governments are advancing environmental policies targeting all fossil fuel usage to meet self-imposed emissions reduction targets and energy efficiency improvements, whether through stricter building codes, taxpayer- and fuel supplier-subsidized insulation initiatives, and other actions. The list of such legislation continues to build. Piled on that, natural gas local distribution companies, or LDCs, continue to seek an offset to their lost volumes from efficiency gains through legislation favoring their utility fuel, and there are lasting risks from state and local policies promoting natural gas system expansions.

Local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regulations represent a growing risk to propane markets. Twenty-four states, nearly half the country’s total, have joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, notes ICF International. The group is a coalition committed to reducing GHGs in alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement, whose central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the world temperature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C.

More than 400 cities have pledged to various environmental policies, and over 2600 mayors, governors, chief executive officers, faith organizations, universities, and tribal leaders have joined the U.S. Climate Alliance. Electric and gas utilities are also participating to protect, or grow, their markets. However, ICF observes that propane is a modest emissions contributor as a fuel source. The residential and commercial sectors account for only 12% of U.S. GHG emissions. Natural gas represents two-thirds of those.

Among the ongoing decarbonizaton policy trends, the consultancy sees hardening mandates for a transitioning to renewable power generation; promotion of and requiring aggressive energy-efficiency improvements; reducing transportation sector carbon emissions by accelerating penetration of electric vehicles that use renewable electricity; and decarbonizing the residential and commercial sectors by converting fossil fuel space and water heating to electricity. And there’s the accompanying reforestation, land-use planning, industrial decarbonization…and everything else. Think prairie chicken habitat preservation.

But there are issues. Specific to electrification of space heating, there’s the cost. This is an expensive option for reducing emissions compared to other alternatives that are less disruptive—less expensive—to consumers, ICF International reports. High levels of winter-peaking electric demand will require significant spending and infrastructure expansions. Other poor and expensive options are new policies that target home heating fuels by using new building codes or emission requirements that limit consumer choice. Stating the obvious, ICF observes that direct-use fuels provided at the source are less susceptible to failure, whereas the resiliency and reliability of an electric grid with a high percentage of renewable feeds remains uncertain, at best. And increasing resiliency is extremely expensive using today’s renewable technologies.

What is a viable climate policy strategy for today’s retail propane industry? Sloan, citing ICF International’s recommended approach, advocates participation in the climate change debate at state and local levels. Education of policymakers regarding the long-term costs and dependability downside of decarbonizing residential and commercial energy demand through electrification is paramount. Also, support is encouraged for the further development and widespread distribution of renewable propane to reduce GHG fossil fuel intensity and co-opt the push for renewable energy penetration.
Sloan 4 propane needs seat at table clean fuel 0619Push for fuel-neutral policy prescriptions that preserve consumer choice. Consider a carbon tax as an alternative to aggressive electrification policies. Push incentives for low-carbon fuels to supplement incentives for energy efficiency and electrification. Promote hybrid heating systems using propane as a backup fuel. Crack the distributed energy market—onsite generation, close to load, such as microgrids. Propane can continue to have a role in a lower-carbon economy, but the business plan will be different.

“The biggest challenge that the propane industry is going to face will come from environmental policy,” Sloan projects. “There’s a very significant movement in state and local policy right now to address climate change through decarbonization. Propane is a clean fuel and has a lot of applications in a decarbonizing economy, in a policy environment that addresses climate change. But the policies being set right now are very much anti-fossil fuels, including anti-propane. And in the next 10 years that is going to be the largest single challenge the propane industry faces.

“If the industry isn’t engaged early in that process, it won’t be able to effect what happens five or 10 or 15 years down the road. So it’s important that the industry comes together in order to have a strategy, a view, and an approach to address climate change policies. That means not fighting the changes, but demonstrating the propane industry can be a part of the solution. In order to influence policy we have to be at the table, and you can’t be at the table if you’re not talking about solutions, if you’re not talking about ways of addressing the issue policymakers are focused on.”

Finally, a quote from another Shakespeare play, “Julius Caesar,” may best serve: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” — John Needham

Capturing More Gallons Year-Round With Autogas!

Over the past few decades, new propane liquid injection systems and other technological advancements have helped revitalize propane autogas’ performance, and improved its reputation, as a clean, alternative fuel option for vehicles—public and private fleets, school buses, and other transportation sectors.
Seminar Autogas Preferred Clean Fuel For USA FleetsThere has never been more opportunity for propane marketers who want to grow their gallon delivery and enjoy year-round revenue than by securing autogas accounts. This starts with propane marketers converting their own vehicles so prospective clients will see firsthand how well vehicles run on autogas.

With major advancements in vehicle propane technology; cultural shifts toward environmental stewardship; financial incentives for clean, alternative fuel and vehicles; and propane autogas market development groups such as United Propane Autogas Solutions (UPAS) eager to help marketers seamlessly facilitate autogas utilization by fleets, the process of converting fleets to propane autogas can be a positive and lucrative one.

With local, state, and federal legislators passing stricter environmental standards, including reductions in vehicle emissions and displacement of gasoline and diesel vehicles with cleaner, less-polluting fuel options, propane autogas is a formidable competitor when it comes to cutting operating expenses and significantly reducing vehicle emissions.

During their presentation at the 2019 NPGA Southeastern Convention in Atlanta, Dudley Westlake, executive director of the UPAS Group, and David Griffin, autogas fleet development specialist with ICOM Alternative Fuel Systems, told the audience that the challenge to capturing this market is twofold.

First, one concern that some propane marketers have historically held is that autogas just wasn’t for them. It meant learning to support their own fleets with a new fuel and also it required upgrading their refueling stations for a higher volume pumping station that is required to make autogas fueling times competitive with unleaded gasoline or diesel. There is also an educational component. Propane marketers may not be aware of what it really means to “grow gallons year-round” that occurs by capturing this new, 12-month-demand gallon growth since fleets operate throughout the year.

Second, a better job must be done by all autogas stakeholders to identify and educate the right fleet owners, managers, and other vehicle operation stakeholders about the significant cost, performance, and environmental benefits that propane autogas provides to make it the most economical and convenient alternative fuel option. With the right vehicles selected and under appropriate use/applications, propane absolutely provides the best return on investment.

Addressing the first challenge, with what facts can autogas overcome the cultural barriers inherent in a predominantly gasoline/diesel transportation sector? Propane is nontoxic, has low or near-zero emissions, and is much less hazardous to health than emissions from gasoline or diesel. According to David Griffin of ICOM, propane is the only clean, alternative fuel to be recognized by the American Lung Association as a Clean Air Choice. Propane is less expensive and outperforms gasoline, diesel, and electric in nearly every category. Autogas infrastructure is 10 times less expensive to install than CNG; autogas reduces maintenance needs; autogas vehicles run quieter and cleaner than diesel or gas; vehicles start immediately in cold weather; and, perhaps most important to fleet managers, propane vehicles provide a much lower total cost-of-ownership than any other alternative fuel option.

To address the second challenge, UPAS’s Dudley Westlake made the case that although multiple alternative fuel options are available, it doesn’t need to be a zero-sum game that pits one fuel against another. He stressed that propane marketers must focus on the fleets where autogas does provide the best solution. “There’s a role for CNG, there’s a role for electric, especially smaller vehicles, and electric hybrids, and there is definitely a role for propane,” Westlake said. With OEM engines getting smaller with higher compression ratios, the approximately 105 octane rating of autogas is the fuel of choice for many engines according to a recent research paper by Southwest Research Labs.

The key, Westlake explained, is to identify and focus on those fleet opportunities where autogas undoubtedly provides the best fit: the low-hanging fruit such as public, private, and other fleets that offer the possibility of gallon growth. “Lots of sectors make sense for autogas,” said Griffin. He enthusiastically cited box trucks; moving vans; HVAC service fleets; paratransit, school, and shuttle buses; contractor vehicles; Amazon; FedEx; DHL; and myriad other public and private fleet possibilities. Westlake told the audience that out of 660,000 federal vehicles, only 135 run on propane.

Westlake shared with audience members a number of examples from ICOM clients in which propane autogas is considered the “fuel of choice.” One outstanding case in point includes the Texas Department of Transportation’s (DOT) decision to upgrade its F-150 and F-250 trucks to run bi-fuel, propane and gasoline. Texas officials shared the two main reasons why autogas is the fuel of choice for their fleets. One is supply security; “Like we see during a natural disaster or emergency situation, with Hurricane Harvey in Texas, gasoline and diesel distribution was disrupted, further crippling the affected area. However, propane supplies are always readily available and it’s also easily portable if needed, making it a critical source of power during a disaster; propane is never too far away.”

The second reason is fuel range; choosing to upgrade to a bi-fuel autogas/gasoline application provides Texas vehicles an extended fuel range of approximately 800 miles. In Texas, fuel range is important, especially when it comes to safety and security needs.

The cost savings realized in autogas refueling infrastructure also makes propane an attractive option. The propane industry needs to reevaluate that all too often when a marketer finally gets a fleet to go with propane, they install the refueling station “behind the fence” or on private property. Westlake emphasized that marketers must consider installing the refueling infrastructure in common areas that allow the anchor client to have convenient, 24/7 access, but also allow other propane vehicles to refuel there, as long as the drivers have undergone the proper safety training to receive key fob entry.

Griffin noted that just five years ago it was still illegal in many states to install a public propane refueling station. But, he pointed out, with the development of the Euro-Nozzle and the ability to comply with safety regulations by watching a fueling station video, many states have made public propane refueling stations acceptable. He has helped ICOM install four public refueling stations in North Carolina; three are anchored by paratransit fleets, two stations are located on propane company property, and one is on city property. Currently, Phoenix has five public stations, and the numbers are growing. The industry must seek opportunities to locate refueling stations in common locations that can be shared to assure fleet access when travelling beyond their normal home based routes.

One of many success stories shared during the lively discussion came from a Minnesota marketer who described how the Minnesota Propane Gas Association has been working with the State Fire Marshal to address Euro-Nozzle and other training requirements needed to make refueling stations public. Officials have now approved public autogas refueling stations with instructions posted on the dispenser. Minnesota marketers are working to add more credit card-operated dispensers along interstate corridors. We need to replicate this model across the United States, the marketer said.

Griffin reminded the audience that when diesel was first introduced, it wasn’t readily available at public fueling stations either. That took time as diesel use increased.

Both speakers were emphatic that the first low-hanging fruit marketers should consider is running their own company vehicles on propane autogas—especially if they are asking fleet owners and managers to consider autogas in their fleet vehicles. A member of the audience added, “don’t forget to advertise this fact on your vehicle—it’s a rolling billboard.” Plus, when marketers convert their own fleets, they’ve started selling propane at a great price while lowering their own operating costs.

The propane industry has the best product available. With the right vehicles and proper application, the benefits of autogas are clearly evident, offering the best return on investment. It is a matter of educating fleet owners and dispelling cultural bias toward gasoline, diesel, and electric. ICOM, UPAS, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), and many others are working hard to address these obstacles and assist marketers who want to add year-round gallon delivery by implementing a comprehensive, seamless transition for their autogas clients. — Andrea Young

Equipment Dealers View Propane As Proven Mower Fuel Alternative

Outdoor power equipment dealers find propane-powered commercial mowers more favorably than comparable electric mowers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). Among the more than 125 individuals who participated in the poll, electric mowers had 30% less favorability than propane models. The survey found that 96% of those responding also agreed that propane is a proven technology for mowers.
Propane Mowers May 2019 3“We know how important the relationship is between a landscape contractor and dealer, and how much influence dealers can have,” said Jeremy Wishart, director of off-road business development at PERC. “Knowing that dealers see propane as a proven alternative fuel for commercial mowers is encouraging as more contractors look for ways to distance themselves from the high emissions and price volatility of gasoline and diesel.”

The survey showed that 62% of respondents agree that using propane reduces fuel costs for landscape contractors compared to gasoline and diesel, and 84% agree that using propane reduces fuel losses. Additional data showed 94% of equipment dealers who responded agree that propane mowers are safe for landscape professionals to use, and that 96% agree that propane has low emissions that appeal to green-minded customers.

The independent research firm Wiese Research Associates conducted the poll on behalf of
PERC to help identify industry perceptions of propane and propane equipment. Dealers can learn more mowers can help their customers reduce costs and emissions at Propane.com/For-Equipment-Dealers.