Propane Industry Releases 2003 Sales Report

Washington, DC (March 4, 2005) — Use of propane in the residential/commercial sector recorded modest growth in 2003, according to a recently completed survey of propane sales trends compiled by the American Petroleum Institute (API).

2003 Sales of Natural Gas Liquids and Liquefied Refinery Gases, which is funded by the Propane Education & Research Council and produced in collaboration with the Gas Processors Association and the National Propane Gas Association, concludes that the propane industry increased its residential and commercial sales (up 2.5 percent from 2002) although weakness in other market sectors saw overall odorized propane sales decrease by 1.1 percent.

This year, API and PERC launched a new initiative in cooperation with Energy and Environmental Analysis, Inc., WirthlinWorldwide, and Petral Consulting Company to further improve the survey's methodology and the reliability of the results.

"We have established an excellent collaborative environment between the subject experts, and we feel that this year's estimates are the best we've ever had," said API Senior Statistician Hazem Arafa.

The 2003 sales report is the first produced since the propane industry launched its Market Metrics Initiative (MMI) to measure market performance, including the number of gallons sold and how those gallons are used.  Another important goal of the MMI program is to evaluate market trends, identify specific market opportunities and liabilities, and calculate the impact of PERC programs on consumer behavior.      

“The API survey is critical to the industry,” said PERC President Roy Willis.  “As part of the market metrics effort we implemented improvements, and the confidence level in the data has increased.”

Willis said the key to improving the survey is maintaining a high level of participation by the industry in the annual sales survey.

The 2003 survey was revised to separate residential consumption from commercial consumption for the first time and to collect the number of customer accounts in each market sector.  The changes allow the industry to better understand propane market trends.

“The result is that the industry can be more confident in the accuracy of the 2003 survey compared to previous years,” said Bruce Henning, director of regulatory and market analysis for Energy and Environmental Analysis, Inc. (Arlington, VA), the project manager for the MMI effort. 

The next survey will be sent to the industry in mid-April.
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