This is especially evident in Pennsylvania, which experienced a propane shortage at the time of the 2014 polar vortex. Combined with a lack of pipeline infrastructure and storage capacity, this led to skyrocketing heating bills and fuel constraints for many. Now, thanks in large part to the Mariner East pipelines and the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex (MHIC), Pennsylvania has a propane surplus – with enough domestic propane to supply the tri-state area for 20 to 30 days.
In fact, the volume of propane sold from truck racks at Marcus Hook every day is enough to meet up to 22% of Pennsylvania’s total propane demand in winter months, historically – and thanks to recent infrastructure buildout at MHIC, the rack now has the capacity to supply even more than that. The “truck rack” is the loading facility at a fuel terminal where customers fill their trucks before delivering the product.
And, while propane sold from Marcus Hook helps to meet much of the nation’s propane demand, it’s an especially good story locally, because 44.3% of that propane stays within Pennsylvania – and 92.3% stays within the four-state region of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.
With so much propane sold at the racks at MHIC, this is great news not only for the increasing number of people switching from fuel oil to propane to heat their homes in the winter, as well as the growing number of bus fleets switching from gasoline to cleaner-burning propane for fuel. It’s also a great economic story for the borough of Marcus Hook, which benefits from Energy Transfer tax revenues, and for the environment – because propane is cleaner-burning than many other fuels.
The daily traffic at the truck racks is a remarkable operation. One truck, which carries 220 barrels (9,240 gallons) of propane, can safely fill up in as little as 30 minutes through an automated process.
Throughout the year, an average of 45 propane trucks every day from numerous customers fill up at the Marcus Hook truck racks. This can rise to as many as 200 trucks per day during particularly cold weather. Those customers ultimately deliver the product to end users, including residents, schools, hospitals, restaurants, office buildings and more.