MFA Oil Company Seals Sixth Acquisition in Fiscal Year

COLUMBIA, MO (May 4, 2016) – MFA Oil Company, the seventh largest propane retailer in the United States, has acquired Terry’s Propane, Inc., a propane supplier based in Washington, Okla. The acquisition is the latest in a series of purchases MFA Oil has made to expand its operating footprint.
MFA Oil Acquires Terrys Propane Co
“The purchase of Terry’s Propane solidifies our presence in the Oklahoma City area and is a complementary fit with R&S Propane Inc., another company we recently acquired,” says Don Smith, MFA Oil director of mergers and acquisitions. “Terry Reynolds, the former owner of Terry’s Propane’s, has agreed to stay on and manage both operations for us. The ability to bring Terry into our company was a key part of this acquisition and we are very excited to have him join the MFA Oil Company team.”
 
This is MFA Oil’s sixth acquisition of its fiscal year, which began September 1, 2015. Previous acquisitions include Lybarger Oil, Inc. in Garnett, Kan.; Elaine Petroleum Distribution, Inc. in Elaine, Ark.; R&S Propane, Inc. in Dibble, Okla; S&S Oil and Propane Company Inc. in Emporia, Kan.; and Brownfield Oil Company in Moberly, Mo.

Community Propane Systems Advanced by House Energy & Commerce Committee

WASHINGTON, DC (April 27, 2016) – The House Energy & Commerce Committee approved an amendment this week to H.R. 5050, the Pipeline Safety Act of 2016, to include a study on the regulations affecting propane jurisdictional systems.  The manager’s amendment, offered by Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ), was approved by a voice vote and included in the Committee’s passage of H.R. 5050.
NPGA Alert Logo

Under the current regulatory framework, propane systems that serve more than 10 customers from a single tank, or more than two if the system crosses a public way, are subject to Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) jurisdiction and regulations.  Propane jurisdictional systems are subject to the same federal regulations as much larger gas distribution systems and utilities.  These regulations are in addition to the state and local codes, which are typically based on NPFA 58.

Rick Roldan, NPGA’s President and CEO said, “Simplifying the regulations gives all energy customers, not just propane customers, access to more options. Propane jurisdictional systems are safe, ease consumer adoption of propane, and allow our marketers to serve more customers with fewer trips.  It has become increasingly clear that the current regulations needed to be reviewed for their effectives and applicability.”

Recognizing the potentially onerous nature of the current arrangement, Representatives Bob Latta (R-OH) and Peter Welch (D-VT) worked on bipartisan language to have the Transportation Research Board examine the current network of federal, state, and local regulations that affect these propane systems.  This study will identify duplications and inefficiencies in these regulations and make recommendations on how to “enhance safety, reduce unnecessary costs, and streamline Federal requirements” associated with propane jurisdictional systems that serve 100 or fewer customers.  Importantly, the legislation calls for the participation of the industry in conducting the study.  Representatives Latta and Welch were successful in including this study into the manager’s amendment for H.R. 5050.

Roldan continued, “I am grateful for the work done by Representatives Latta and Welch, Chairman Upton, Ranking Member Pallone, and their staffs.  Providing clarity in the Federal requirements benefits all consumers and we are looking forward to participating in the study.”

H.R. 5050 will now need to be combined with H.R. 4937, the PIPES Act of 2016, which was recently approved by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, for consideration by the full House of Representatives.

Arizona School District Adds 73 Blue Bird Propane School Buses to Fleet

PHOENIX (April 20, 2016) — Propane autogas continues to gain momentum among school districts throughout the U.S. as the clean-burning alternative fuel of choice for school bus fleets. This includes the recent upgrade of 73 school buses to propane autogas by the Kyrene School District in Arizona. The District now runs 85 percent of its school bus fleet on propane autogas. Propane autogas is less expensive than diesel, easier to service, reduces harmful emissions, requires less maintenance, and is much quieter than their diesel counterparts.
KyreneSchoolDistPropaneBusSideView

The Kyrene school district started with propane autogas in 2014 when it purchased 25 Blue Bird Vision Propane-Powered buses. This school year, Kyrene School District added 73 more.

“With our Blue Bird propane autogas school bus fleet, our technicians don’t have to worry about the difficulties we encounter when servicing our diesel buses,” said Eric Nethercutt, director of transportation and facilities for Kyrene School District. “Working with propane is as easy as working on a gasoline engine.”
Equipped with Ford Motor Company’s 6.8L V10 engine, the 98 buses are powered by ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel systems. The Blue Bird propane buses will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 56,000 pounds and more than 1,400 pounds of particulate matter each year compared with the diesel buses that were replaced.

“Our Blue Bird Vision Propane school bus is the right solution for any school system looking to be environmentally and fiscally responsible,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird. “We applaud Kyrene School District for being a leader in alternative-fuel use in Arizona and we are delighted they are choosing Blue Bird’s class-leading propane-powered bus as their solution, as have hundreds of other school districts across the country.”

The district’s bus drivers also have a favorable view of the propane autogas buses. “It’s a different driving experience because the bus is so quiet,” said Nethercutt. “This allows drivers to better interact and talk with students on the bus without competing with a diesel engine.” Buses fueled by propane autogas reduce noise levels by about half.

“Kyrene School District has committed to cost-efficient, emissions-reducing propane school buses,” said Brian Carney, group account director for ROUSH CleanTech. “Kyrene’s transportation department, service department, drivers and students are all seeing firsthand the benefits of lower fuel prices, easier maintenance, quieter performance and cleaner air for the community.”

Currently, Kyrene School District averages $1.15 per gallon for propane autogas compared with $1.50 per gallon for diesel. In addition, the school district will benefit from a 36 cents per gallon tax rebate provided by the federal government. The school district is working with their propane provider to install an onsite fuel station to further reduce the cost per gallon. Historically, propane autogas costs about 50 percent less than diesel per gallon, and a propane station costs less to install than any other fueling infrastructure.

New "Proudly Propane" consumer campaign to launch summer 2016

At the 2016 NPGA Southeastern Convention in Nashville last week, many had the pleasure of meeting someone special. His name is Blue, and he’s the new consumer-facing spokesperson (spokedog) to help propane-related businesses improve familiarity and favorability around propane in 2016. At his keynote speech during the event, Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) CEO, Roy Willis, introduced the upcoming integrated campaign, and discussed how PERC will work to strengthen consumers’ emotional connection to propane as a brand. PERC, industry volunteers and The Richards Group, which serves as PERC’s advertising agency for the project, came up with Blue, a dog named for the color of a propane flame. Blue, the dog, accompanies his owner, a hard-working propane delivery driver, who provides service to friends and the community.
Blue dog

Industry leaders have been collaborating with PERC to develop a campaign designed to improve the familiarity and favorability of propane. After surveying thousands of people and sharing campaign ideas with focus groups, numerous opportunities to educate current and prospective users on the many benefits of propane were identified. Last February, a new $10-million consumer education campaign was approved for 2016 that uses the tagline “Proudly Propane” to create an emotional connection with consumers and marketers. At that meeting, Cory Green, brand planning director for The Richards Group, said “Proudly Propane” will be the brand affiliation statement. It’s about the propane customer seeing his or her backyard tank as “a point of pride because that thing allows me to live the independent lifestyle that I am so proud of and so honored to live.” “It’s less about the stigma and about being proud of propane and being proud to use it.” Customers, he added, can become advocates who are so passionate about the brand that they want to talk about it with others.

The consumer education campaign targets the 35 to 65 age demographic that includes people with limited or no access to natural gas. They are honest, straightforward, reliable people who value their independence, are self-sufficient and take pride in how they live. The campaign goal is to improve familiarity and favorability among current and prospective propane users. The national campaign is expected to launch summer 2016 and include TV, radio, print and digital.

Watch for email updates and follow propanecouncil.org for all of the latest news about the campaign. To build awareness and grow gallons in your market, campaign materials from the online catalog will be available beginning in June.

Safety Advisory: Immediate re-inspection of certain cargo tank motor vehicles required

Washington, DC (April 15, 2016)  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today issued a Safety Advisory to notify owners and operators that certain cargo tanks were improperly inspected and must be re-inspected and retested before continuing service.   The Advisory applies to cargo tanks that were inspected and/or tested from April 2011 through March 2016 by H & W Tank Testing (CT#8083) located in Ohatchee, Alabama and Christopher Humphries (CT#13131) of Jacksonville, Alabama.  Although both inspectors are based in Alabama, we recommend that all members review their cargo tank records as we've learned that members as far as the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. are impacted by this notice.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Propane Transports
Cargo tanks improperly inspected by these facilities
must be re-inspected and retested as soon as possible by a cargo tank facility registered with FMCSA.  Before resuming service, cargo tank owners must provide FMCSA with documentation that all affected cargo tanks are properly re-inspected and retested.  Details on the type of documentation necessary and the appropriate contact to send the documentation are contained in FMCSA's Safety Advisory, which can be viewed at http://1.usa.gov/1Nt0pBD

It is a violation of the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to use these cargo tank motor vehicles for transportation of hazardous materials before they have been properly re-inspected and
retested by an FMCSA-registered cargo tank facility.