Last winter, some folks in cold climates had difficulty receiving their propane. The industry's distribution and delivery infrastructure were not strong enough to support the demand brought on by a severe winter and record crop drying activities. It was compounded by an export practice that created an artificial shortage, too. But the bottom line was simple: Propane wasn't reaching customers, and what did reach customers was expensive.

In every problem, there is a lesson to learn. In this case, the moral is about being proactive to avoid occasional bumps in the road, which can interfere with long-term vision. Suppliers are filling tanks for the winter ahead of schedule, increasing storage and bolstering their propane supply to get ahead of the winter weather. As a result, the propane industry is more prepared today for seasonal fluctuations. It now has new strategy in place to minimize issues in supply and to clearly communicate with its customers through times of peak demand.

You can maintain your long-term vision by being proactive, too. Be sure to lock into contracts before the winter to ensure you receive your fuel — both to keep your home warm and to run your vehicles. Doing so will pay many dividends throughout this winter and beyond.

Why? Propane, which is called autogas when used in on-road applications, is already the most popular alternative vehicle fuel. Propane is domestically produced, and will help create energy independence for the U.S. Because it burns cleaner than diesel or gasoline, it reduces greenhouse gases and many other smog-producing emissions. These benefits, plus low cost, lead to a quick return on investment and long-term economic and environmental benefits for fleets.

Here's your fuel for thought: As a leader in this space, any alternative fuel you choose is going to require behavioral changes. Changes associated with propane autogas are relatively minimal — and well worth it in the long run.

About the author
Joe Thompson

Joe Thompson

President, Roush Products

Joe Thompson is the president of Roush Products and formerly served as president of ROUSH CleanTech since the company’s inception in 2010.

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