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Gregg Walker
Propane Education & Research Council

Propane Council Approves 2014 Budget

Leadership emphasizes industry commitment to growing the use of clean, cost-effective, safe propane across multiple sectors

WASHINGTON (October 21, 2013) — The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), meeting last week in Portland, Ore., approved a $39.7 million 2014 budget that will fund the research and development of groundbreaking technology and build on its leading safety and training programs.

The budget includes $24.2 million for program activities, allocating 57 percent to research and development, 26 percent to training, and 17 percent to safety efforts. The program activities budget reflects an increase of $4.5 million from expected 2013 program funding.

2014 Budget Summary

The current assessment rate of four-tenths of a cent per gallon of odorized propane is expected to generate revenues of $33.5 million.

“This budget builds on our success in residential and commercial markets, with propane autogas fleets, with landscape professionals, and in agriculture,” PERC President and CEO Roy Willis said. “Customers are turning to propane because it is a price-competitive, American-made fuel with lower emissions than conventional fuels.”

According to PERC Chairwoman Paula Wilson, director of marketing at AmeriGas Propane in Valley Forge, Pa., propane has established a foothold in on- and off-road sectors. “Our industry took giant steps in 2013 in growing market share in the markets for school buses, commercial mowers, and irrigation engines,” Wilson said. “A major goal for 2014 is to strengthen our partnerships with builders and developers in the residential and commercial sectors.”

In other Council business:

  • Wilson said that the propane industry, led by the National Propane Gas Association, is pursuing ways to restart the price analysis, with the possibility of lifting the restriction on PERC’s consumer education program. PERC has been restricted to safety, training, and research and development activities since a Commerce Department price analysis triggered a provision in the authorizing statute.

  • The Council approved an Executive Committee proposal to eliminate one of its in-person meetings in 2014. The Council will meet in person three times and by phone once.

  • The Council approved resolutions of sympathy and support for the friends and family members of former Council members Thomas A. Nunan and Ralph Rooney, who died in 2013. Nunan, a founding member of the Council and the longest-serving councilor, was a former vice president of Suburban Propane. Rooney, president of Suburban Gas in Bessemer, Ala., joined the Council in 2004.

  • Councilor Drew Combs of CHS Inc. of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., reported on a grant from the firm to PERC for agricultural propane safety programs.

  • Darren Engle, director of marketing for Blue Star Gas of Central Point, Ore., and chairman of the PERC Research and Technology Development Working Group, reported on the working group’s progress in propane autogas and other areas of development.

The Council approved the following funding requests, change orders, and new state rebates while in Portland:

Docket 15938 — LPG Additive & Filter Effectiveness (change order), $185,100
Docket 17132 — Ford F-650 6.8L 3V LPI Development (no-cost change order)
Docket 19093 — Freightliner Propane Autogas MT 45/55 with GM 6.0L, $385,000
Docket 19135 — Autogas Aftermarket Support Program, $500,000
Docket 19136 — Irrigation Engine Validation & Demonstration, $191,500
Docket 19166 — Safe Use of Propane for Marine Use, $4,000
Docket 19169 — NAFTC Autogas Technician & Operator Training, $183,900
Docket 19170 — Dispensing Propane Safely Program: Third Edition, $127,600
Docket 19179 — Origin Engines 9.1-liter Development, $100,000

Since July, PERC approved 37 state rebate requests totaling $858,713, with 18 programs including requests for a total of $368,090, from the PERC Partnership with States program.

The Council will next meet December 10 and 11 in Amelia Island, Fla.