This industry consists of companies that primarily sell bottled or bulk liquefied petroleum (LP) gas, which is used mainly for heating homes and businesses in rural areas. This classification includes other byproducts of crude oil, such as bottled butane gas, used as an additive in gasoline and for lighters, and bottled propane gas, which is most often used to produce LP gas.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Bottled Gas) Dealers
This industry grew from the industrial revolution, when manufacturers sought plentiful, easily transported fuel. In the twentieth century, dealers of liquefied petroleum and propane and butane gases had customers in commercial, industrial, and residential markets. Industry sales rose with population growth and industrial expansion. However, profitability varied due to changes in demand and production costs, both of which were affected by such factors as economic conditions and the price of crude oil imports used to make these products.
In 2004, the industry leader in this category was Ameri Gas Partners, L.P. of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, with sales of $1.8 billion and 6,100 employees. In addition to selling engine fuels, Ameri Gas sold 1.1 billion gallons of propane to more than 1.3 million residential, industrial, agricultural, and commercial users. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of UGI Corp.
Second in this industry was Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. of Liberty, Missouri, with 2004 sales of $1.3 billion and 4,348 employees. Ferrellgas also owned its own delivery fleet, which included 4,400 vehicles. The company had one million customers and sold 899 million gallons of propane that year. Another industry leader was Suburban Propane Partners, L.P. of Whippany, New Jersey, with 2004 sales of $1.3 billion and 4,271 employees. Selling 598 million gallons of propane to one million customers, the company operated 370 stations in 30 states, and owned its own storage units, railroad tank cars, and trucking fleet.
Liquefied petroleum gas dealerships were also secondary businesses for companies in related industries, such as dealers in SIC 2869: Industrial Organic Chemicals and businesses in SIC 4925: Mixed, Manufactured, or Liquefied Petroleum Gas Production and/or Distribution. In 1989, Quantum Chemical Corp., a retailer in industrial organic...