What is Propane?

According to the Gas Processors Association HD5 specification for LPG as a transportation fuel, LPG must consist of 90% propane, no more than 5% propylene, and 5% other which is primarily butane and butylene. It is produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. The components of LPG are gases at normal temperatures and pressures.

How is Propane Made?

Propane is a by-product from two sources: natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Most of the LPG used in the United States is produced domestically. When natural gas is produced, it contains methane and other light hydrocarbons that are separated in a gas processing plant. Because propane boils at -44°F and ethane boils at -127°F, it is separated from methane by combining increasing pressure and decreasing temperature.

The natural gas liquid components recovered during processing include ethane, propane, and butane, as well as heavier hydrocarbons.

Propane and butane, along with other gases, are also produced during crude refining as by-products of the processes that rearrange or break down molecular structure to obtain more desirable petroleum compounds.

What are the Benefits of Using Propane?

Propane vehicles can produce fewer ozone-forming emissions than vehicles powered by reformulated gasoline. In addition, tests on light-duty, bi-fuel vehicles have demonstrated a 98% reduction in the emissions of toxics, including benzene, 1,3 butadiene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde, when the vehicles were running on propane rather than gasoline.

The cost of a gasoline-gallon equivalent of propane is generally less than that of gasoline, so driving a propane vehicle can save money. In addition, propane is the most accessible of all alternative fuels. In the United States approximately 3,000 publicly accessible facilities offer propane.

Approximately 85% of all propane used in this country comes from domestic sources, so driving a propane vehicle can help reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and strengthen national energy security.

The information above was obtained from the Alternative Fuels Data Center, which is a great technical resource on all alternative fuels and vehicles. Source link:

Current Virginia Clean Cities Propane Projects

Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program
The goal of SPADP is to implement 17 propane stations, convert over 1,100 vehicles to propane, conduct propane road shows in 9 southeastern states, deploy a national marketing and outreach campaign. Project will eliminate over 16,000 tons of pollutants (criteria and GHG) over the 4 years, displace 15,772,100 gallons of gasoline, and create/retain 600 jobs. More information about the program can be found here.

Past Virginia Clean Cities Propane Projects

Gloucester County Propane School Bus Project

On October 26, 2009, Gloucester County Public Schools was presented a check from MARAMA and the keys to their 5 new propane school buses. Elected representatives spoke about the commitment by Gloucester County to environmental sustainability and energy security at Page Middle School.

Funding for the propane school bus pilot is being provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 via the EPA National Clean Diesel Program and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.



March 4, 2014 Autogas Working Group Call – First Responders
Spancil Hill – Tony Dale
NAFTC – Micheal Smyth

Janaury 7, 2013 Autogas Working Group Call
Roush CleanTech- Chelsea Jenkins
Sonny Merryman- Natalie Van Dyke


Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program


In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) to increase the number of vehicles running on propane autogas: a clean, domestic and economical alternative fuel. Titled the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program (SPADP), this large-scale initiative will increase the number of autogas vehicles and refueling stations throughout the Southeast.

Autogas is a clean, economical, and immediately available vehicle fuel, 90 percent of which is produced domestically. Beyond deploying the autogas vehicle conversions and implementing fueling infrastructure associated with this project, the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program will educate the public about the viability of autogas by conducting road shows across 12 states and by deploying a national marketing and outreach campaign. By illustrating the benefits of autogas – through meticulous data collection and promotion of case studies – the program will reduce the public’s perception of the risks associated with alternative fuel use and widen the positive impact of each dollar allocated to the program.

The goal of the communications campaign for this project is to create a self-sustaining market for autogas vehicles, in turn generating further job creation, reduced dependence on foreign oil and reduced harmful vehicle emissions.

The Program:
Under the Autogas Program, over 1,200 vehicles from 36 fleets – across Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Colorado – will be converted to run on propane autogas. Fueling infrastructure will be implemented on site at many of the fleet bases and several public fueling sites will be available, totaling 10 autogas refueling stations in the program.  The Autogas Program incorporates the deployment of a comprehensive education, outreach and marketing campaign to increase public understanding of the benefits and viability of autogas vehicle fuel. The campaign will include: a detailed public website, a data reporting site for fleets, fostered communications among program partners, media relations, paid online and offline advertisements, events and road shows, and the design and production of a range of collateral materials.

The Purpose:
The Autogas Program will have far-reaching effects during the four-year period of project funding. Based on project mileage assumptions provided by each participating fleet, the converted vehicles will displace more than 4 million gallons of gasoline and will prevent over 4,000 tons of airborne pollutants. The program will directly and indirectly create hundreds of American jobs associated with manufacturing of refueling infrastructure and other equipment, conversion of vehicles and installation of fueling infrastructure, production of program materials and products, increase in propane autogas use and management of the overall program.

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