Residential Propane Tank Sizes

Residential Propane Tank Sizes

What Propane Tank Is Right for My Home?

gas tank options new york Deciding on the correct size for your propane tank can be pretty simple, although there are some variables involved. Your New York propane supplier has a deep knowledge of typical usage, especially during the winter, so they’ll have a good idea what your propane heating needs are. Here are some of the other factors they will take into consideration:

  • The square footage of your home
  • What propane appliances you have in your home, such as a furnace, water heater, cooktop/stove, and clothes dryer
  • The total BTUs of all of your propane appliances
  • Whether you have a pool heater, which is a high BTU appliance

If you are concerned about price spikes in the propane market during the heating season, you could upgrade to a larger propane tank to get yourself fully supplied before winter. It also means you will require fewer propane deliveries. Your New York propane supplier can help you decide if that’s the right choice for you.

Here’s a look at the wide range of propane tank sizes available and how they can fit the needs of your household.

20-Pound Propane Tank

This is the size that most people are familiar with, especially for New Yorkers who just use propane for outdoor cooking. With a capacity of about five gallons, these portable cylinders are used to fuel outdoor gas grills. They can also be used for outdoor heaters. If you only have a propane fireplace or hearth you use occasionally, this can also be an option since you can store multiple tanks outside (NEVER indoors!) for backup and you can easily refill or exchange 20-pound tanks at a propane retailer.

100-Pound Propane Tank

These tanks are the next step up from 20-pound propane tanks and can be refilled onsite. Here are some reasons to choose a 100-pound propane tank:

  • You have an indoor fireplace but don’t want to travel to exchange propane tanks frequently.
  • Your only propane appliance is a gas range or cooktop with wall ovens.

420-Pound Propane Tank/100-Gallon Propane Tank

Depending on your propane provider, this tank is referred to as a 420-pound propane tank or a 100-gallon propane tank. (A gallon of propane weighs 4.2 pounds). If you only have two or three propane appliances like a water heater, fireplace, clothes dryer or stove, this tank could be right for you.

150-Gallon Propane Tank

This propane tank size is used for low-BTU appliances and smaller demand uses like water heating and cooking. It can also fuel propane space heaters and wall heaters. But it is generally not enough for whole house heating.

250-Gallon Propane Tank

If you have more than three propane appliances such as a fireplace, clothes dryer, water heater, and stove, this may be a good size. It can also be used for whole-house heating, depending on your square footage.

500-Gallon Propane Tank

If you heat your home with propane as well as run your stove, fireplace, water heater, and clothes dryer, you’ll need a larger propane tank like this. A 500-gallon tank is 10-feet long and shaped like a submarine.

1,000-Gallon Propane Tank

Often used in commercial applications, this tank has the same shape as a 500-gallon storage tank, but it’s about six-feet longer. If you have a large home, use a lot of propane appliances, and heat your pool with a propane pool heater, you may need to go this big.

Learn more about your options in propane delivery or read more about propane tank sizes.

What is Propane Autogas?

What is Propane Autogas?

It’s the Third Most Popular Vehicle Fuel

propane vehicle new york With diesel fuel prices still painfully high and inventory levels in the Northeast much lower than average, propane autogas is looking like a better option every day.

Propane autogas describes propane when it is used as a fuel for vehicles. Propane autogas is the world’s most popular alternative fuel, which is defined as any product that bypasses the two big traditional petroleum fuels: gasoline and diesel.

In 2022, there were an estimated 27 million vehicles in the world that relied on propane autogas. This includes school buses, taxis, shuttles, delivery and construction trucks, and more. There are also thousands of propane autogas fueling stations in the U.S., with stations in every state. Read more facts about propane autogas.

According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, 60% of alternative-fuel vehicles nationwide are powered by propane. Overall, propane autogas is the third most popular vehicle fuel, next to gasoline and diesel. Its popularity has led to an array of innovations in vehicles that use propane autogas.

Propane vs. Diesel and Gasoline Vehicles

Here are three key areas where propane-fueled vehicles have an edge over those that rely on diesel or gasoline.

Fuel: You can generally count on an average savings of 30 to 40 % per mile driven with propane autogas, considering both the cost of the fuel itself and the expected fuel economy. Historically, propane has been 30% less than gasoline, and the savings are even greater over diesel now, especially in the wake of the alarming price increases we’ve seen this year.

Fluids: New, lower emissions diesel technology presents extra costs because diesel emissions fluid needs to be purchased, stored, and changed. Plus, in cold temperatures, diesel vehicles need anti-gel fluids to prevent fuel filters and fuel lines from clogging. If your fleet runs on propane autogas, however, you will benefit from reliable performance in any type of weather without the need and extra expense of additional fluids.

Filters: To meet emissions requirements, today’s diesel technology requires diesel particulate filters that must be cleaned. Excessive idling accelerates cleaning intervals. These extra maintenance expenses just add more to the total cost of ownership.

Propane Vs. Electric Vehicles: Which Is Cleaner?

There has been much talk about achieving net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050, and transitioning to all-electric vehicles has been a big part of the conversation because electricity is considered a “clean fuel” by many.

Although a battery-powered electric car itself doesn’t produce any emissions, the power plant that generates the electricity used to charge those batteries probably does. And those power plants are among the largest sources of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States.

Other obstacles slowing the move toward electric vehicles include low supply, charging infrastructure challenges, expensive upfront costs, and limited mileage range.

Converting Engines to Propane Autogas

For fleet owners who want the cost benefits of propane autogas but need the flexibility of a gasoline backup or who aren’t ready to purchase new vehicles, EPA-certified bi-fuel conversion kits can be installed on existing vehicles.

You can count on propane refueling technology to deliver as dependably as the vehicles themselves. Refueling with propane autogas is quick, quiet and safe. It’s the same experience as refueling with diesel or gasoline, making the transition to propane autogas easy for fleets.

Propane autogas fleet operators can also save money by taking advantage of the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit, which was recently passed by the U.S. Congress as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. Read more about how you can qualify to claim a credit for every gasoline gallon equivalent of propane autogas purchased.

Learn more about propane autogas in New York.

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Propane vs. Electricity

Propane vs. Electricity

Which One is Better for the Environment?

propane or electric new york There are many ways using propane benefits the environment, especially when you compare it to electric power. To start with, propane produces 43% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than using an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the grid. That’s something to think about the next time you get a propane delivery.

In terms of efficiency, propane also generates more Btu’s than an equivalent amount of electricity. That means you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat energy. Also, clean-burning propane appliances are efficient, because they waste very little fuel in the combustion process. Propane also has a lower carbon content than gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, kerosene and ethanol, which is a big part of the reason it was added as a clean fuel to the Clean Air Act in 1990.

Those are a few reasons why, hands down, propane is better for the environment and for your home.

Propane Can Be Used as a Motor Fuel

There has been much talk about achieving net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050, and transitioning to all-electric vehicles has been a part of the conversation.

Although a battery-powered all-electric car itself doesn’t produce any emissions, right now, the power plant that generates the electricity used to charge those batteries most likely does. Those power plants are among the largest sources of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States.

While production of electric vehicles and related infrastructure continues to grow, some technology remains in the development stage. In contrast, propane autogas has seen impressive technology advances in the last decade, providing fleets with reliable performance and savings while reducing emissions right now.

Autogas is already powering buses, police cars, street cleaners, and other vehicles in cities worldwide. Many businesses are also using propane to fuel their vehicles.

Propane’s lesser environmental impact is what makes this fuel a leading alternative for vehicles of all kinds. Since propane has a lower carbon content than petroleum products, it creates fewer toxic emissions and burns cleaner. Some estimates show that converting a vehicle to propane autogas can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 90%. Your vehicle’s engine could even last longer with propane.

On the Horizon: Renewable Propane

The success story of propane and the environment doesn’t end here. Renewable propane represents the next step towards a zero-carbon emissions future.

While it is not in common use yet, renewable propane gas has positioned itself to be a major part of the clean fuel conversation in the years ahead.

Just as conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, most renewable propane can be considered a coproduct of biofuel creation. Many of the same feedstocks that go into creating biofuel — animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass — are used to create renewable propane.

Read more about why having a propane tank on your property to heat your home is better than relying on an aging electrical grid that’s prone to power outages. And then contact your New York propane company if you want to explore ways to expand your use of propane.

What Is Propane Made Of?

A Byproduct of Oil Refining. Natural Gas Production

propane production new york After you get a propane delivery or turn on your gas appliance, do you ever stop to wonder where that propane comes from in the first place?

Propane was identified as a volatile compound in gasoline in 1910. Over the years, business leaders and scientists have worked to make propane the viable fuel source it represents today. The process itself of making propane has evolved over the last century or so. Today, there are two primary ways propane is produced.

Natural Gas Production

The majority of propane is derived from natural gas production. To stop condensation from forming in natural gas pipelines, propane is extracted from liquid compounds as the natural gas is being processed. Butane is also extracted during this process. Propane, being much denser as a liquid than as a gas, is stored and transported as a liquid in this form of production.

Crude Oil Refining 

Propane can also be created during the process of crude oil refining. There are a lot of products that can be derived from crude oil refining, including gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, jet fuel, heating oil—and propane as well. During the stabilization phase of the refining, the heavier hydrocarbons fall to the bottom. But propane, being a lighter hydrocarbon, is at the top and it’s easily extracted.

Propane: An American Made Fuel

Because propane is created through the processing of natural gas and crude oil, it is a fuel that is largely a domestic product. In fact, about 90% of the American propane supply is generated right here in the United States!

Getting Propane Gas vs. Natural Gas

Natural gas can only get to your home through an underground pipeline. If something goes wrong with that pipeline, you can’t get any gas. Propane gas is easier to move around because it gets compressed, or squeezed until it turns into a liquid. It is then put inside tanks and your propane supplier delivers it right to your home’s propane tank.

It’s similar to the air in a car tire, which gets squeezed to about two or three times the normal air pressure. But the gas in a propane tank gets squeezed about 100 times more than that. This is why even a small tank can deliver a lot of propane gas.

Adding to the Mix: Renewable Propane

While renewable propane is not widely available yet, homes and businesses all over the U.S. will eventually be able to easily use it. Since renewable propane is molecularly identical to conventional propane, there will be no need to replace or alter existing propane appliances and equipment.

What is renewable propane gas made of? Just as conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, most renewable propane can be considered a coproduct of biofuel creation. Many of the same feedstocks that go into creating biofuel — animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass — are used to create renewable propane.

This method of producing propane is as safe, cost-effective, and dependable as that for propane generated from natural gas. And when compared to electricity, renewable propane has a considerably smaller carbon footprint.

Read more about renewable propane gas.

Do Tankless Water Heaters Use a Lot of Propane?

Do Tankless Water Heaters Use a Lot of Propane

Comparing Usage with Other Propane Appliances

tankless water heaters new yorkIf you’re looking to replace your home’s water heater, the best time to do it is before your water heater fails, which will force you into “panic-buying” a replacement system quickly.

When you have the time to shop around, you’ll discover the great value and convenience of propane tankless water heaters. These types of units offer many advantages over electric water heaters as well as conventional storage tank water heaters.

Hands down, using propane for water heating is a better choice than electricity. That’s because propane gets water hot faster than electricity for about 30% less cost!

How Much Propane Does a Tankless Water Heater Use?

One question that consumers commonly ask is: how much propane does a propane tankless water heater use? The short answer to that question is that a typical propane tankless water heater producing 40,000 BTU/hour will consume about 1.5 gallons of propane per day. Here’s the explanation behind this calculation.

Because a British thermal unit (BTU) tells us how much heat energy is in a gallon of propane– one gallon of propane equals 91,452 Btus–we can make estimates about how much the average homeowner will use.

However, the amount of propane your own appliances will use—including your propane tankless water heater– depends on factors ranging from the size and efficiency of each appliance to how well it was matched to your space, as well as the quality of the installation and the frequency of maintenance.

How Much Does a Propane Tankless Water Heater Cost?

Prices range from about $170 for small gas-fired units to more than $2,000 for high-output heaters that can supply two showers at the same time; on average, the cost is about $1,000 per unit.

But keep in mind that propane gas-burning tankless water heaters should operate for 20 years or more. That’s two or three times longer than most storage tank water heaters as well as electric tankless water heaters.

If you experience an average energy savings of $150 per year, these savings should pay for your investment in a tankless water heater in about six or seven years. After that, you can pocket all of the savings on heating the water in your home.

How Much Propane Do My Other Gas Appliances Use?

Now that you know tankless water heaters on average use 1.5 gallons of propane per day, you may be wondering how your other propane appliances compare. The following estimates below should give you some idea of how much each propane appliance typically uses to do its job.

Please note that these appliance measurements are expressed as BTU per hour. This is a way to represent a measurement of deliverable power applicable to each propane gas appliance. (Think of it like the horsepower rating of a car). As an example, a typical furnace is about 100,000 BTU per hour. You can go here to read more about BTU per hour.

  • Furnace – 100,000 to 200,000 BTU/hour: about 1 to 2 gallons/hour
  • Fireplace with ceramic logs – 26,000 BTU/hour: 1 gallon / 3 hours
  • Gas cooktop/range – 65,000 BTU/hour: 5 to 10 gallons / month)
  • Gas clothes dryer – 35,000 BTU/hour: less than 1 gallon/ day)

You can read more about propane tankless water heaters by going here. After that, reach out to your local propane service company for good advice.

How To Get the Most Out of Your Propane Grill

How To Get the Most Out of Your Propane Grill

Using Different Temperature Modes or Heat Zones

gas grilling new yorkToday’s propane grills are renowned for providing precise temperature and heat control, which is a major reason so many New Yorkers have one in their backyard.

Simply by turning the dial, you can instantly adjust the grill to give off more or less heat. If you’re grilling a variety of dishes, whether it’s a quick weeknight supper or a backyard barbecue party, that control gives you the power to cook everything to perfection.

You have the choice of using different temperature modes or heat zones when you’re using a propane grill. Turn the dial to high heat on one side and low heat on the other, and that allows you to sear on the hot side and transfer it to the cooler side to finish cooking.

Using Direct Heat and Indirect Heat

Being able to use direct heat or indirect heat, or both at the same time is another reason why propane grills are so versatile and popular.

Direct heat cooks food hot and fast. It’s great for searing meats or grilling thin cuts of meat and quick-cooking foods like vegetables. Indirect heat is how you grill barbecued chicken and pork shoulder. You can even use indirect heat to bake bread. To grill with indirect heat, simply turn off the burners directly under where you want the food to cook, keep the other burners on, and close the grill lid.

But keep in mind that indirect heat takes longer, so be patient. But that patience will pay off when you hear the praise you get from family and friends for the food you have prepared for them!

Searing on a Propane Grill

If you’ve ever marveled over the beautiful crust that steakhouses get on their meats, you can do it at home on your propane grill. It’s all about searing, whether it’s beef, lamb, or pork. Here’s how to do it.

  • Take the meat out of the fridge 20 to 30 minutes before grilling.
  • Pat the surface of the meat dry with paper towels before seasoning; wet meat steams instead of sears. If you’ve marinated the meat, use paper towels to blot off excess marinade.
  • Turn your propane grill on and set it on high.
  • Wait about 10 to 15 minutes until the grill is hot before putting the meat on. Go here to read more about this.
  • Once the meat is on the grill, leave it alone for at least one minute before turning it, at least two minutes if you have a thicker cut. After turning the meat, reduce the heat.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure your meat is grilled to the safe and desired doneness.

Propane Grill Maintenance and Safety

Your propane grill will work better for a longer time if you take care of it with regular maintenance. If you use your grill often, you have to be diligent about keeping it as clean as possible and inspect it regularly for any potential problems that could put a damper on your next barbecue.

Read more about overall propane safety.

Renewable Propane Gas for a Clean Energy Future

Renewable Propane Gas for a Clean Energy Future

A Clean-Burning Fuel That Delivers a Smaller Carbon Impact

home energy options new yorkPropane gas is becoming increasingly popular among homebuyers for its energy efficiency and the many amenities it provides. That’s why, by 2025, the demand for propane in the United States is expected to reach more than 10 billion gallons every year.

The advent of renewable propane gas can not only help meet this rising demand, but it also gives us a dependable, secure domestically made energy source. It reduces our reliance on imports from other countries as well as aging, poorly maintained, fragile utility infrastructures.

Propane is already environmentally beneficial since it burns cleanly with negligible greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable propane takes the propane industry’s effort to become more sustainable one step further.

What Exactly Is Renewable Propane?

Just as conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, most renewable propane can be considered a coproduct of biofuel creation. Many of the same feedstocks that go into creating biofuel — animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass — are used to create renewable propane.

This method of producing propane is as safe, cost-effective, and dependable as that for propane generated from natural gas. And when compared to electricity, renewable propane has a considerably smaller carbon footprint.

How Renewable Propane Can Create a Greener Tomorrow

Homes and businesses all over the U.S. will be able to easily use renewable propane. Since it is molecularly identical to propane, there will be no need to replace or alter existing propane appliances and equipment. As usage of renewable propane increases, it will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, helping fight the devastating effects of climate change.

Renewable propane can also be blended with propane and utilized in existing propane-powered equipment and vehicles, as well as cars that run on propane autogas. This will reduce air pollution and diesel particulate matter substantially. Cleaner burning renewable propane can also help engines and equipment to run more effectively, resulting in longer life with less upkeep and fewer repairs. Businesses may benefit from tax credits at both the federal and state levels.

How Renewable Propane Gas Can Benefit New York

Renewable propane gas will allow propane providers in the Empire State a greater opportunity to be involved in residential, commercial, and government projects that require energy sources to be zero-carbon or as close as possible when it comes to emissions, meaning more opportunities and income for locally-owned businesses.

Ultimately, renewable propane can be a part of making the quality of life better in New York with reduced emissions, a cleaner environment, and forward-thinking applications that will make our state a destination for ultra-modern development.

You can read more about propane’s clean energy future here.

Why Your Propane Gauge Never Reads 100%

Why Your Propane Gauge Never Reads 100%

Understanding the 80/20 Rule for Propane Tanks

propane not 100 percent new yorkIf you’re someone who keeps a close watch on their propane tank gauge, you may have noticed that when your propane supplier delivered your fuel, they didn’t fill your propane tank all the way up to the 100% level.

Don’t worry. There is nothing wrong. This is known in the industry as “the 80/20 rule,” and it’s done for a very important reason: safety.

Propane: From Liquid to Gas

The propane in your tank is stored as a liquid. The liquid changes to gas before it leaves the tank. That’s why it’s called liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

Like any liquid, propane will expand when its temperature rises. The difference with propane is that it expands a lot, and quickly. Its volume increases nearly 17 times the volume of water over the same temperature increase.

This is why your propane delivery driver needs to leave extra space in your tank to allow for propane to safely expand. Aboveground propane tanks are typically filled to about 80% capacity; underground tanks can be filled slightly higher because they are insulated against the heat.

That extra space in the tank provides a cushion against the pressure that builds up inside the tank. For example, a 500-gallon tank filled to 80% will safely hold 400 gallons of propane.

This safeguard is especially important in hot weather—when liquid propane will expand the most. It’s important to note that the amount of gas in the tank doesn’t actually change during periods of expansion and contraction–only its density does. For example, if you notice that the tank gauge reading fluctuates slightly during quick temperature swings (hot day, cool night), again, don’t worry because that’s perfectly normal.

Propane gas expansion is also a reason why you should never paint your outdoor propane tank a dark color since dark colors absorb more heat.

Propane Delivery Options

Your propane company will work closely with you to ensure you always have enough propane in your tank. They may even be able to put you on an automatic delivery schedule. This will significantly reduce the chance of running out of propane. And you won’t have to worry about checking your tank and then taking the time to call in a delivery request. That can become a hassle during periods of bitter cold temperatures.

If you have any questions about your propane deliveries, please reach out to your local propane company.

Safety Tips for Your Propane Grill

How to Grill Meat Safely and More

gas grill safety new yorkMay is National Barbecue Month! Actually, this celebration is just a fun way to encourage us to do some outdoor cooking now that the weather has warmed up. Not that we need much encouragement! Food just seems to taste better when it’s cooked outdoors.

And if you’re fortunate enough to have a propane grill in your backyard, you’re ahead of the grilling game. Propane grills can handle all of your outdoor meals with less work and more ease than a charcoal grill.

With a propane grill, you get the precise temperature control that makes grilling easier, with better results. You can go from high heat for steaks to low and indirect heat for pulled pork with just the turn of a dial. Grilling with propane offers you the options and control that make cookouts as easy as possible.

Grilling Meat Safely

When you grill with propane, you greatly reduce your exposure to carcinogens that could end up in your food when you grill with charcoal. Cooking on a charcoal grill burns hotter and generates more smoke.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before you toss those New York strip steaks on your grill.

  • Trim excess fat and blot marinade off meats before grilling to prevent flare-ups.
  • Use a marinade with rosemary, which has been shown to reduce toxin in some studies. Lemon juice, garlic and onion are other recommended marinade ingredients.
  • Grill your meat to a safe temperature. Use an instant-read thermometer and you’ll reach the safe temperature without overcooking.
  • When you’re done grilling, don’t put grilled meats on the same platter you brought out the raw meat on. A clean platter prevents the spread of bacteria that can live in meat juices and residue.

What to Do if the Grill Flares Up

Flare-ups are caused by fats and oils dripping down over your propane burners. They’re usually temporary, but can create unappetizing burns on your food.

If possible, keep part of your grill empty when cooking. This way, you can quickly move the food to that spot if a flare-up happens. After moving the food, keep the grill lid up and let the flare-up burn off.

If the fire spreads, take all food off the grill and let the fire burn off the grease. If the fire gets out of control, remove the food and turn off the burners and gas. Leave the lid open to let the fire die on its own. For safety purposes, you should always keep a fire extinguisher nearby; use it if you think the flames have gotten out of control.

Best Practices for Food Safety

It’s also a good idea to review some food safety reminders. Here are just four.

  1. If you can’t wash your hands, use antibacterial wipes before eating or handling food – especially raw meat, poultry, or fish.
  2. Separate raw meats from cooked and prepared foods. Store raw meats in a separate cooler, place raw meat on its own plate, and use different utensils to handle uncooked and cooked food.
  3. Always cook meats to recommended internal temperatures; there are wireless meat thermometers that allow you to monitor temperatures from your phone.
  4. If you aren’t eating immediately, refrigerate food quickly after cooking.

Please visit this page to read more information and tips on overall propane safety. Happy—and safe—grilling!

Why Have Propane Prices Gone Up In New York?

A Look at What Influences the Propane Gas Markets

propane prices new yorkHigher propane prices can be frustrating and downright painful at times. But try to take comfort in the fact that propane remains one of the most cost-efficient ways to heat your home and fuel your appliances. Propane does all this while reducing carbon emissions at the same time.

Plus, historical trends have shown us that, when it comes to prices, what goes up must come down. It’s just a matter of when. For all local propane companies and the industry in general, the feeling is, the sooner the better.

Propane Price Swings Are More Moderate than Oil

You may have noticed price swing trends with propane tend to be more moderate compared to heating oil, gasoline, and other fuels derived from a barrel of crude oil. The retail price of propane is 27% higher than last year, while heating oil, when compared to a year ago, is up 76%, according to state data compiled at the end of March 2022.

Electricity is no bargain either. New York is ranked among the top 10 states with the highest average retail price of electricity in the residential sector, coming in at 19.50 cents/kWh. To put that in perspective, the U.S. average electricity rate is 13.75 cents/per kWh.

Propane: A Domestic Form of Energy

One of the strengths of propane is that it is a completely domestic form of energy.  The U.S. actually exports about twice as much propane to the rest of the world than we use in our own country. 

Even though propane is still priced in the world market like oil is, this abundance of domestic North American supply gives us supply security and helps moderate the pricing in the U.S. 

In contrast, crude oil–while we produce a lot of it here–is still an imported product as well, and we still get it from some countries that really don’t like us very much. 

Supply and Demand

The combination of high demand and lower-than-average inventory is always a common driver for higher propane prices. While you may just think of propane demand for home heating and appliance use, it goes well beyond that.

As an example, global demand for propane has risen because of its increased use as a petrochemical feedstock, the vast majority of which are derived from crude oil and natural gas. These petrochemicals serve as the basis of many end products, including plastic, paper, adhesives, and detergents. Petrochemical manufacturers are the largest consumers of propane.

Global demand for U.S. propane has remained steady despite higher U.S. prices because international prices for propane and other feedstocks have also increased, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Here are a few more of the multiple factors that can affect the price you ultimately pay for your propane.

Global Conflicts and Natural Disasters

When war, political strife, conflict, or natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes or hurricanes occur in other regions of the world, this can impact crude oil and natural gas prices. Since propane is a by-product of both crude oil and natural gas, rising prices for these fuels have a ripple effect on propane.

Before the start of the war in Ukraine in late February, all energy prices had been rising in anticipation of the potential sanctions that could be levied on the Russian energy sector if the country went ahead and invaded Ukraine.

Russia carries clout because it is the third-largest petroleum and liquid fuels producer in the world, behind only the United States and Saudi Arabia. It’s a major exporter of both crude oil and natural gas.

Even the hint of a possible disruption in energy supply will heavily influence the buying and selling done by commodities traders. In the frenzied world of investment, this is known as the fear factor.

When Russia eventually invaded and the U.S. placed a ban on Russian imported oil and petroleum products–with other countries expected to follow–that meant there would be a big energy void to fill. Those who make their living in the energy markets don’t like that uncertainty. This includes the speculators who are betting on price moves as well as the hedgers, who are limiting risk for their clients who are involved with either the production or consumption of oil.

Propane Exports

Many people don’t realize that the U.S. is a large exporter of propane, and that export business continues to grow. This is good business for the large wholesale propane suppliers, but it increases demand even further in an industry that traditionally doesn’t store huge quantities of propane at once. Many propane suppliers are obligated to provide the quantity of propane they’ve committed to export, leaving even less of propane inventory for domestic consumption.

Weather Extremes

If a reduction in supply occurs during a time of high demand, such as the colder months, a scarcer market develops. When a cold snap is especially extreme or lasts longer than usual, this scarcity gets further compounded. People may start to panic buy, similar to what we saw at the start of the pandemic with the toilet paper shortage.

And it’s not just cold temperatures that can increase propane demand. Heavy rains during the agricultural growing season create bumper crops that need to be dried rapidly, in great volume. Propane is among the fuels used for crop drying. Propane consumption in corn-producing states typically rises in September and October with the corn harvest, followed by a larger rise related to space-heating needs in January.

Other Factors That Influence Price

Long-time factors that have always influenced where propane prices go include proximity of supply, transportation bottlenecks, energy policy, and manufacturing trends. More recently, these issues have also come into play:

  • the actual cost of delivering fuel has risen.
  • new expenses have occurred because of COVID-19 related workforce issues.
  • supply chain problems have caused shortages, resulting in shipment delays and inflated prices for supplies, parts, tanks and other materials.

What Comes Next?

We don’t know where things will go from here, but if history is a guide, we can expect to see prices drop pretty significantly in the not-too-distant future. And nothing will make your local propane company happier than when prices return to normal. 

Until then, trust your propane supplier to look out for you, and let’s hope that—regardless of what happens with energy prices—we will soon be living in a more peaceful world.