Propane Education & Research Council Funds Expanded Nationwide Advertising Campaign

Selects Vendor to Create Incident Data Collection System; Approves Research Projects including Major Fuel Cell, Airport Initiatives


December 17, 2001

Washington, D.C.—The Propane Education & Research Council (Council) met on December 11-12 in Houston, Texas where it approved major initiatives totaling nearly $15 million to support the expansion of a nationwide advertising program, enhancement of employee training materials, development of a strategic plan for the agriculture market, and research projects including the addition of off-road propane equipment at one of the nation’s largest airports.

“The Council’s actions are the culmination of months of work by the Council, our four advisory committees and other industry leaders in each of our mission areas,” said Council Chairman Walter Cressman, president, Cress Gas Co., Richlandtown, Pennsylvania. “The next year promises to benefit the propane industry and consumers in a major way with the implementation of an expanded advertising program, new employee training materials, and research initiatives.”

Grants and State Rebates. The Council approved $14.7 million in grants and nearly $1.1 million in state rebates. Summaries of all grants and state rebates can be found on the Council’s Web site— From the home page, click on “propane industry” which will take visitors to the “grants and rebates database.”

State Rebates. States are eligible to receive rebates equivalent to 20 percent of the Council’s annual assessment collections. The Council approved rebate requests from 16 states, totaling nearly $1.1 million, with an additional $61,000 in Consumer Education Partnership with States matching funds granted to the states.

Consumer Education Advisory Committee
The Council approved funding requests that will support the industry’s 2002 consumer education campaign, including outreach to residential and trade audiences, industry communications, a separate manufactured housing initiative and a program to measure the effectiveness of the campaign.

“The Propane: Exceptional Energy" advertising campaign will grow in 2002, reaching millions more homeowners through print and broadcast advertising,” said Cressman. “Next year the campaign will be expanded to reach local markets around the nation.”

The advertising plan also continues an extensive print campaign aimed at key trade audiences in the homebuilding, fleet, forklift and agriculture markets. New public relations initiatives aimed at homeowners and trade audiences will build on the momentum established by the advertising campaign.

Through the Council, the industry will also participate in six major tradeshows in 2002. Trade show efforts include special event sponsorship, brand promotion, alliance building and media outreach. A special communications initiative aimed at the manufactured housing market will continue in 2002, with advertising and outreach efforts planned for manufacturers, home retailers and consumers.

Industry communications will continue to be a Council priority in 2002. Efforts include new communications tools such as e-mail bulletins, updates to the Propane Advertising Kit and one-on-one meetings with industry members/groups to provide support for local advertising efforts. The Council also approved an evaluation program that will carefully track and measure all consumer education efforts throughout the year.

Funded Projects:
Assessment and Enhancement of PERC’s Informational Resources—Energy International, Inc.—($174,940) (Docket #10626)

Consumer Education Advisory Committee—Propane Education & Research Council—($109,020) (Docket #10627)

2002 Consumer Education Campaign: Advertising/Public Relations/Marketing—Propane Education & Research Council—($10,020,000) (Docket #10628)

Trade Show Initiative—Propane Education & Research Council—($300,000) Docket #10629)

2002 Manufactured Housing Initiative—Propane Education & Research Council—($350,000) (Docket #10630)

2002 Propane Industry Communications/Outreach—Propane Education & Research Council—($605,000) (Docket #10631)

2002 Measurement and Evaluation—Propane Education & Research Council—($517,100) (Docket #10632)

2002 Rural Residential Lifestyle Research—Propane Education & Research Council—($43,000) (Docket #10633)

Research and Development Advisory Committee
The Council’s research program will continue to support additional fuel cell research in 2002 with the goal of allowing propane systems to move toward commercialization. Other 2002 projects include an initiative to work with Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to deploy off-road propane equipment.

Funded Projects:
Airport Vehicle Propane Conversion Project—City of Chicago/O’Hare Airport—($180,477) (Docket #10396)

Propane Fueled Microturbine Field Test Program—Gas Plants, Inc.—($67,000) (Docket # 10466)

PERC Fuel Cell Project Year 3 (Development & Demonstration)—Propane Education & Research Council—($85,100) (Docket #10544)

Worldwide Technology Coordination—Propane Education & Research Council—($78,000) (Docket #10545)

Propane Fuel Processing for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells—Global Themoelectric Inc.—($500,000) (Docket #10547)

Heat Reclaim Project—Green Mountain Coffee, Inc.—($51,821) (Docket #10565)

Development of the B5.9LPG Plus Engine—Cummins Westport Inc.—($200,000) (Docket #10568)

Propane Feasibility Study for Telecom Fuel Cell Power Systems—Nuvera Fuel Cells—($396,000) (Docket #10573)

Propane School Bus Program—Capital Bus Sales and Service of Texas, Inc.—($65,000) (Docket #10581)

National Parks Initiative—Propane Education & Research Council—($247,690) (Docket #10583)

Phase II LPG Microturbine Rapid-Intervention Project—The ADEPT Group, Inc.—($61,188) (Docket #10615)


Agriculture Advisory Committee
The newly created Agriculture Advisory Committee will develop a strategic roadmap for the agriculture market in 2002, similar to the work being done in the research and safety missions.

Funded Projects:
Qualitative Research on Propane in the Agricultural Sector (Phase I)—Ipsos-NPD ($25,000) (Docket #10570)

Agriculture Advisory Committee—Propane Education & Research Council—($15,500) (Docket #10582)

Propane Agriculture Roadmap—Propane Education & Research Council—($60,000) (Docket #10634)


Safety and Training Advisory Committee
The Council approved nearly $600,000 to fund safety and training initiatives that include the development of a “regulatory link” to its Web site, to post the Compliance Guidebook and Initial OSHA and DOT HazMat Training curriculum, both currently under development by the National Propane Gas Association and JJ Keller, respectively. The Council also approved funds for phase IV of the award-winning Propane Emergencies Program that includes four train-the-trainer sessions and a first-ever Propane Emergency Response Conference.

The Council unanimously agreed to fund phases I and II of a five-phase/multi-year propane incident data collection initiative that will ultimately provide the industry with the ability to collect data and track its safety performance; identify trends and deficiencies; prioritize corrective actions and expenditures; and communicate its excellent safety record to the public. Upon the recommendation of the Safety and Training Advisory Committee (STAC), which reviewed several proposals, the Council selected Texas A&M University to conduct phases I and II of this project, which will set the foundation for the creation of a comprehensive propane incident data collection system.

Funded Projects:
Propane Incident Data Collection (Phases I and II)—Propane Education & Research Council—($178,174) (Docket #10640)

Additional Support Activities to the Safety Compliance Communications Outreach Program—Propane Education & Research Council/National Propane Gas Association ($79,500)(Docket #10559)

Propane Emergencies Phase IV—Propane Education & Research Council ($311,486) (Docket #10578)


Industry Programs
The Council will increase its presence at propane industry conventions in 2002, in an effort to communicate the value of the Council’s work to propane industry members.

Funded Projects:
Industry Trade Shows and Forums Presentations, 2002 Leadership Summit and NPGA Meetings—Propane Education & Research Council—($242,450)(Docket #10625)

2001 NGL Survey (API)—Propane Education & Research Council—($94,100) (Docket #10636)

Next Meeting—The Council will meet on February 21-22 in Phoenix, Arizona. The meeting is open to the public, although Councilors will spend the majority of meeting time in executive session for strategic planning.

Grants/State Rebates Submission Deadlines
January 25—Grants
February 22—State Rebates

2002 Calendar—Council Meetings—All Meetings are Open to the Public

  • February 21-22—Phoenix, Arizona (Executive Session for Strategic Planning)
  • April 9-10—Atlanta, Georgia (Grants/Rebates)
  • May 7-9—Kansas City, Missouri (Leadership Summit V)
  • June 14—Las Vegas, Nevada (Grants/Rebates/Officer Elections)
  • July 16-17—Baltimore, Maryland (2002 Budget)
  • September 17-18—Washington, D.C. (Evaluation of Programs/Grants/Rebates)
  • December 9-10—San Antonio, Texas (Grants/Rebates)

The Propane Education & Research Council was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of Public Law 104-284, the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA), signed into law on October 11, 1996. The mission of the Propane Education & Research Council is to promote the safe, efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source.