U-Haul Propane and the Brains Behind It

Feb 24, 2016

U-Haul Propane RefillPHOENIX (Jan. 26, 2016) – Propane isn’t just used to cook and heat homes anymore, its applications are far-more reaching, and U-Haul is on the forefront of that growth. In fact, U-Haul is North America’s largest propane-refilling network. Propane is currently available at 1,100 U-Haul stores.

“Propane meets our primary service objective at U-Haul, it is a safe sustainable source of fuel and is powering 200 of our AFM field rigs,” U-Haul propane program manager John Barnett said. “As program manager I not only want to be the propane expert for U-Haul, but be an expert in the propane industry. I have expanded my knowledge in several government and industry agencies in the U.S. I am working on getting involved with a few agencies in Canada. I think that we have the position and the footprint to change the propane industry and drive alternative fuel for propane-powered vehicles.”

Propane, a byproduct of oil refining and natural gas production, is widely used all over the world. In addition to heating homes and fueling grills, propane is a very viable automotive fuel. When propane is used as an automotive fuel it is often referred to as propane autogas. In the United States propane autogas is the leading alternative fuel and the third most commonly used automotive fuel, ranking only behind gasoline and diesel.

U-Haul propane program manager John Barnett

Since taking over the U-Haul propane program in March of 2015, Barnett has taken numerous steps to become better affiliated with the entire propane industry. He became a member of the prestigious National Propane Gas Association and recently attended a convention where he met experts and soon-to-be mentors. Barnett is also on the board of the Propane Educational Research Council (PERC), a government-funded organization that deals with propane safety, training, and consumer awareness.

“We now have a voice in DC with getting things approved,” Barnett added. “Being a PERC board member allows me to vote on funding. Right now PERC has 10 million dollars budgeted toward consumer awareness and safety. I’m the only person on the board representing a retail company, where we get to see the end user.”

“Because of networking and my connections with NPGA and PERC, I’ve been able to call upon colleagues and use their credentials and expertise to reach goals. For example, Ted Lemoff, an engineer and expert in the propane industry wrote a document for me which lead to the city planning departments granting U-Haul a permit to install propane in a location it was originally vehemently against.”

Barnett is very passionate about the growth of the propane industry. He’s equally as passionate about safety. He works hard to ensure U-Haul employees have the best and most up-to-date education and training tools.

“It’s so important to handle propane safely,” Barnett continued. “When dispensing propane, always wear PPE, inspect the tank and know your surroundings. Do not dispense if there are any sources of ignition. Do not fill the tank if the tank is out of the inspection date.”

You can read the entire list of propane safety tips by clicking here.

For the first time in 2015, U-Haul teamed with Phoenix International Raceway to become its official trailer and propane provider. Thousands of campers became more familiar with U-Haul and its propane program.U-Haul is North America's largest propane-refilling network.

“It was really exciting to be out at PIR and to have that partnership,” Barnett continued. “My main goal and focus was to educate the consumer on safety when using propane.”

As for the future of propane, Barnett is seeing growth in a couple of directions. He wants U-Haul to expand in Canada. He believes our neighbors to the north are advancing in the field quickly and wants U-Haul to be a part of it. He also sees a need in the autogas market. Without divulging too much of his future plans, Barnett wants U-Haul to make autogas move available across North America. With his connections, networking, knowledge, and tenacity- they are all goals well within reach.

Share what you do with propane in the comments!

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