National Propane Gas Association says hours-of-service waiver needed to meet demand

September 30, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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The National Propane Gas Association says it needs an hours-of-service exemption to respond to high demand and to recover from emergency conditions.

Specifically, the organization asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to waive the requirements of CFR 395.3 “to enable the propane industry to prepare and respond to peak periods of consumer demand among residential, agricultural, and commercial consumers in anticipation of, during, and to recover from emergency recommendations.”

A notice of application for exemption was published in the Federal Register on Friday, Sept. 30.

The National Propane Gas Association requests a five-year exemption for its member company drivers to do the following:

  • Extend the 14-hour duty period to no more than 17 hours.
  • Extend the 11-hour driving period to no more than 14 hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • Waive the 60- and 70-hour rules for a period of no more than six consecutive days.
  • Allow a period of six consecutive days to end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours.

The trade association is a national trade association of the propane industry with a membership of nearly 2,500 companies and 36 state and regional associations representing members in all 50 states.

Propane gas is used in millions of homes, agricultural operations, schools and businesses throughout the United States, the organization wrote in its application. The group also noted the propane industry’s role as an immediate response fuel in emergency conditions, such as hurricanes, wildfires and blizzards.

Although the FMCSA and states often issue emergency declarations for national disasters, the propane association said they don’t account for the large increase in demand in anticipation of the emergency.

“In advance of these conditions and during service through these conditions, the propane industry experiences significant increases in consumer demand, which creates an increase to deliveries to consumers as well as deliveries to bulk storage locations,” the group wrote. “As a result of those needs, long- and short-haul drivers often reach the maximum operating limits in 393.5 within three or four days.”

The propane group requests that the exemption apply on a per-driver, per-route basis. In addition, it recommends that each company using the waiver “must maintain appropriate documentation to demonstrate the presence of peak consumer demand conditions within the scope of the exemption.”

How to comment

The public will have through Oct. 31 to comment on the exemption request. To comment, click here or go to the Regulations.gov website and enter Docket No. FMCSA-2022-0175. LL

Other recent exemption requests:

Convoy

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.