What Is Propane?
Propane is a naturally occurring product simply composed of hydrogen and carbon molecules (known as hydrocarbons). Other members of the hydrocarbon family are methane (natural gas) and pentane (gasoline).
Propane naturally occurs as a gas at atmospheric pressure but can be liquefied if subjected to moderate pressure. It is stored and transported in its compressed liquid form, but by opening a valve to release propane from a pressurized storage container, it is vaporized into a gas for use. Simply stated, propane is always a liquid until it is used. Although propane is non-toxic and odorless, an identifying odor is added so the gas can be readily detected.
1. Simple Hydrocarbon
2. Naturally found as gas
3. Liquefies at moderate pressure for transportation and storage
4. Non-toxic, colorless odorless, tasteless - artificial odor is added
Where Does Propane Come From?
First of all, approximately 90% of propane is domestically produced! Propane is not produced for its own sake, but is a by-product of two other processes, natural gas processing and petroleum refining. US production of natural gas and petroleum normally provides enough propane as a byproduct to meet all consumer demand.
Natural gas plant production of propane primarily involves extracting materials such as propane and butane from natural gas. Similarly, when oil refineries make major products such as motor gasoline and heating oil, some propane is produced as a by-product of those processes. It is important to understand that the by-product nature of propane production means that the volume made available from natural gas processing and oil refining cannot be adjusted when prices and/or demand for propane fluctuate.
Over the past decade, the US propane supply has increasingly been exported to both Asia and Europe via ship. This causes a lower inventory and higher prices each winter as heating demand increases. We protect our customers from this price increase through our pre-buying program where we purchase propane from our suppliers on their behalf in the summer months.
· By-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining
· Production is not directly demand driven.
· High demand in cold weather causes prices to increase each season
What Influences Propane Prices?
Crude Oil and Natural Gas Prices
Propane is a by-product of both natural gas and petroleum and its price is based on the going rate for both.
What are some of the most common uses of propane?
· Home heating
· BBQ grills, smokers, fish fryers
· Air conditioning
· Water Heating
· Swimming Pool Heating
· Clothes drying
· RV Heating, Cooking, Water Heating
· Food Refrigeration
· Construction Heat
· Industrial Process Heating
· Vehicle Fuel
· Weed burning
· Forklift Fuel
· Flame Cutting
· Grain Drying
· Poultry Brooding
· Irrigation Fuel
· Fruit ripening
· Generator Fuel
· Hot Air Balloon Fuel
How does “Pre-buy” work?
Since prices spike almost every winter for the residential propane market, we offer a pre-buy program each summer that permits you to lock in low summer-time propane pricing then use it through the following winter. Payments for this service may be either lump sum or via budget billing.
How does “Budget billing” work?
For our budget billing customers, we evenly distribute the year’s propane costs over the year to lessen the burden on a monthly basis. Give us a call or come in and we can get you set up!
How do I read the gauge on my propane tank?
Not all tanks have gauges. If your tank does have a gauge, it is located on the top of the tank, usually under a liftable hood. (Note: Please be careful when you lift the hood–insects sometimes nest there.)
Why isn’t my tank filed to 100 percent capacity?
Your propane is delivered and stored in liquid form. Propane liquid, for example, will expand (become a gas) nearly 17 times as much as water over the same temperature increase. As a result, tanks and cylinders are never completely filled with propane liquid. Tanks are filled to about 80 to 85 percent of their capacity. This leaves a space above the liquid, which allows the propane liquid to expand freely due to changes in temperature.
There are several important characteristics that you need to understand about propane stored in containers. First, heat is added to propane in a tank or cylinder by transfer directly from the air surrounding the container. Hot days, cool nights, rain and snow are a few of the many factors that affect the temperature of the liquid. Because of these temperature changes, you may see fluctuations in your container gauge.
How can I learn more about propane?
You can learn more about propane through The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).Call PERC at 202-452-8975 or visit them at www.usepropane.com.
1020 S. Detroit St.
Bellefontaine, Oh 43311
M-F 7:30AM - 4:30PM
(Closed for training Fridays 7:30AM-9:00AM)