PERC Consumer Ed Campaign Adds New Propane Homes; Delivers Third Consecutive Positive Return on Investment

Propane Council initiates marketing program for propane-fueled vehicles at April meeting


 Download PERC Consumer ED Campaign Adds New Propane Homes  

Washington, DC (April 20, 2007) — The propane industry’s investment in consumer education programs in the residential market from mid-2004 to mid-2005 resulted in adding almost 16,000 new homes and 12 million gallons per year of incremental propane sales, according to the latest report from the industry’s Market Metrics Initiative.

The report was presented by Energy and Environmental Analysis, Inc., an ICF International Company (Arlington, VA), at the Propane Education & Research Council’s (PERC) April 13 meeting in Atlanta, GA.  The industry’s annual Market Metrics Initiative showed that the propane industry’s $27.2 million expenditure in consumer education activities from mid-2004 to mid-2005 had a 7.8 percent return on investment.

EEA also calculated results for the residential market campaign from mid-2001 to mid-2005, which resulted in up to 62,000 new propane heating customers and added 24 to 46 million gallons per year of incremental propane sales. During this time period, PERC’s programs had an 8.7 percent return on a total $72.8 million investment. 

“The PERC consumer education campaign has produced substantial results over the past five years and has made a positive difference in the housing market. Propane’s share of new housing increased substantially during that time, and the Consumer Education Advisory Committee members deserve credit for additional and lasting value they created for the industry,” said PERC President and CEO Roy Willis.

Willis said the industry should be proud of what it has achieved, but should always be looking ahead. “We undertook this campaign in the second largest expansion of the housing market since World War II, and we have to be mindful that as circumstances change, our campaign should change as well,” he said.  The Council is likely to revisit elements of the campaign after reviewing the findings of new research due this summer on builders and recent propane homebuyers.

The slide below illustrates the rate of return for the propane industry’s consumer education program as compared to other well-known “check-off” programs.[1]

EEA also reported that propane is attracting more premium homebuyers. New propane homes sell for higher prices and are larger, on average, compared to electricity and natural gas. In markets outside of metropolitan areas, 26 percent of propane homes cost $400,000 or more, and in metropolitan areas, 41 percent of propane homes cost $400,000 or more.

Propane Vehicle Marketing Program

The Council approved a substantial marketing program to increase the visibility and use of vehicles that are fueled by propane. The program will support forklifts, fleet applications, and off-road applications such as commercial mowers and airport vehicles.

The program will offer the industry and fleet customers the opportunity to test drive the new Bluebird Propane Vision school bus and Roush F-150 pickup truck, both dedicated propane vehicles. The program will also support marketing for commercial mowers and the expansion of propane use at airports and ports.

“The new marketing program is designed to educate consumers and the propane industry on the new propane vehicles entering the market as well as demonstrate how propane can be a cost-effective fuel for fleet managers looking for viable options,” said PERC Managing Director, Engine Fuel Programs Brian Feehan.

In other Council business:

•Harris Interactive reported the results of a research effort to understand what drives energy decisions in builders and homeowners. Harris will continue its research this year by interviewing more than 2,600 people in areas that have a high percentage of propane homes.
•The Council’s auditors reported a clean 2006 audit and noted that the financial condition of the Council is strong.
•The Research and Development Advisory Committee reported on its distributed generation program, and the Council approved a grant to fund its 2007 effort.
The Council approved funding for the following grants:


Docket 12293 – Youth Agriculture Education Materials Development, $74,500
Docket 12292 – Dairy Bed Sterilization Through Propane Flame, $47,763
Docket 12296 – Economic Analysis and Demonstration of Propane Irrigation Engines Phase 2, $51,885
Docket 12297 – Batchen Stinger Steam Weeder – Design Study, $75,000

Engine Fuel

Docket 12244 – Engine Fuel Advisory Committee Oversight and Operating Budget, $95,000
Docket 12251 – Engine Fuel Advisory Committee Professional Services, $200,000
Docket 12290 – 2007-2008 Engine Fuel Marketing Program, $925,000

Research and Development

Docket 12221 – Fundamental Research on the Efficacy of Heat on Bed Bugs and Heat Transfer in Mattresses, $52,500
Docket 12264 – Investigation of Propane-Genset Hybrid Power Systems for Rural Tribal Communities, $54,601
Docket 12275 – 2007 Distributed Generation Activities, $260,210
Docket 12294 – Study of Propane’s Climate-Change Advantages, $35,000
Docket 12295 – Mobile Propane Powered Surveillance Unit, $26,745

Safety & Training

Docket 12276 – Consumer Safety Education Campaign Support, $84,500
Docket 12277 – CETP E-Learning Maintenance Agreement, $81,500
Docket 12284 – CETP E-Learning Phase 1 Curriculum Alignment – Vapor Distribution, $326,555
Docket 12286 – 2007 Propane Emergencies Program, $135,750
Docket 12287 – Cathodic Protection Training Program, $6,400
Docket 12289 – Cabinet Heater and Composite Cylinder Consumer Safety Outreach and Workforce Training, $352,000

State Rebates

The staff approved 73 rebates from 22 states based on the replicated rebate process. The total amount approved was almost $3.8 million.  One original concept rebate totaling $7,000 was awarded.

The Council will next meet in person on July 19-20, 2007, in Washington, D.C.