Propane, an important part of America’s energy mix for more than a century, is a byproduct of natural gas processing and oil refining. What makes propane popular with users, however, is what separates it from conventional fuels like gasoline and diesel:
Propane is an approved clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act. Substituting propane for other fuels such as gasoline and fuel oil is an economical and viable step toward cleaner air. Using propane reduces the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and air pollutants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide.1
Propane production keeps quality jobs in our country. Nearly 50,000 workers across the U.S. are employed in propane production, transportation, and distribution.2
America produces more than enough propane to meet demand. In fact, the U.S. is propane’s leading producer. Propane is an abundant bridge fuel, making it a clean-burning alternative to gasoline and diesel that can address energy challenges while long-term renewable technologies are developed.3
Propane prices are typically lower than those associated with gasoline, diesel fuel, and home heating oil due to the growing supply.4
Propane — sometimes known as liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG — is a gas normally compressed and stored as a liquid. It is nontoxic, colorless, and virtually odorless; an identifying odor is added so it can be detected. Propane is most commonly used for space and water heating, for cooking, and as fuel for engine applications such as forklifts; however, its applications are rapidly growing due to new technology developments. When used as vehicle fuel, propane is known as propane autogas.
Propane is primarily a byproduct of domestic natural gas processing, though some propane is produced from crude oil refinement. U.S. propane supplies are becoming increasingly abundant due in large part to increased supplies of natural gas.
Propane is used in 48 million households6 as well as many businesses for water and space heating, indoor and outdoor cooking, clothes drying, and backup power. Additionally, many industries increasingly choose propane to cost effectively fuel vehicles and equipment while lowering emissions.
Propane autogas is an approved clean alternative fuel under the Clean Air Act of 19907 and the third most popular vehicle fuel worldwide behind gasoline and diesel.8 Propane is commonly used to fuel buses, light- and medium duty trucks, vans, shuttles, taxicabs, and police and government vehicles.
More than 130 models of propane-powered commercial lawn mowers are available today from 18 industry-leading brands, including walk-behind, stand-on, and zero-turn-rider options. Some landscape contractors choose to convert existing equipment to propane using EPA- and CARB-certified conversion kits.
Propane isn’t limited to the field. It influences all aspects of farming operations. More than 1.2 billion gallons of propane were sold for agricultural use in 2009.9 This includes propane that is used to run pumps and engines, heat buildings, and dry and process crops.
With up to 56,000 miles of pipeline and nearly 6,000 retail dealer locations nationwide, propane is widely available and easily portable.10
For on-road use, there are more fueling stations in the U.S. for propane autogas vehicles than there are for vehicles of any other alternative fuel except electricity.11 Propane is the only alternative fuel with fueling stations in every state.11
The propane industry generated nearly $15 billion in direct domestic value in 2009.