Propane is a highly versatile, environmentally safe, clean burning, cost efficient and energy efficient fuel source with hundreds of uses. It is a nontoxic, colorless and odorless energy source produced from both natural gas processing and crude-oil refining. Like with natural gas, an odorant is added to propane in order to help detect its presence. Propane is also referred to as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), liquid propane, propane gas and LP gas.
Who uses propane and why?
Propane is widely used in both the residential and commercial sectors.
The Residential Sector
Around 11.8 million U.S. households use propane as their main fuel, and around 42 million U.S. households use propane for outdoor grilling according to the 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey.
Propane has both indoor and outdoor applications. Indoors, propane reliably fuels furnaces, fireplaces and hearths, and space heaters. It also fuels ranges, standard and tankless water heaters, and clothes dryers; and is widely used to provide back-up power.
For outdoor living, propane fuels fire pits and hearths; barbecues and outdoor kitchens; and patio, spa and pool heat, camping, and landscaping equipment like blowers, trimmers and lawn mowers.
Off-the-Grid Living. Propane is receiving increased attention as the fuel of choice for off-the-grid living because it is environmentally friendly, accessible, cost efficient, portable and convenient.
Propane is effective as a single source home energy solution, able to support fuel needs like stand-alone systems for home heating, hot water, cooking and other purposes. Like oil, propane can be stored in refillable above- or underground cylinders installed on your property, enabling you to keep an ample supply on hand at all times.
Unlike oil, propane isn’t messy or dirty, and doesn’t require annual maintenance servicing. Wood stoves sound attractive but they produce fumes, have the potential for fire hazards, and the inconvenience of chopping and storing wood.
The Commercial Sector
Propane is also popular commercially. Some of its many applications include construction/building, restaurants, agriculture, industrial, fleet vehicles and vehicle fuels.
In construction, propane provides job site flexibility with energy for applications such as forklifts, portable generators and temporary construction heaters. Architects, contractors, engineers and business owners are attracted to propane because it allows them to create efficient, low-cost buildings also sought after by realtors and buyers alike.
Restaurants use propane for heat, hot water, hearths, outdoor lighting and cooking appliances. Of 100 professional chefs surveyed, 96 prefer cooking with propane for its instant heat, responsible control and quicker, more even cooking. Propane cooking appliances offer greater efficiency and energy savings too.
In agriculture, propane is used for crop drying, lawn mowing, forklifts, green houses, generators and more. Switching from diesel fuel and gasoline to propane increases efficiency and meets carbon emissions goals. Nearly 830,000 farms in the U.S. use propane, and agricultural experts rely on it. Farmers using propane irrigation engines report savings of up to 50% compared to diesel engines doing the same job.
Autogas & Fleets
Considered an alternative fuel under the Energy Policy Act of 1992, propane is a common transportation fuel, ranking third after gasoline and diesel because of its low-carbon footprint.
Over 17 million vehicles currently use propane autogas globally, and the number is increasing as businesses and government organizations transition fleets over to propane in order to achieve emissions goals. An American-made alternative fuel, propane autogas produces 20% less carbon monoxide, 40% less nitrogen oxide and 10% less carbon dioxide than gasoline.
Propane Tanks, Storage & Shelf Life
Propane is stored as a liquid in cylinders (tanks), is readily available, and delivered directly to consumers by a propane retailer. The propane tanks come in many sizes so consumers can choose which best fits their particular needs. This makes propane a highly portable, convenient and versatile fuel for grilling, landscaping, fire pits, patio heat, camping and more.
Propane tanks require little maintenance, are environmentally friendly, and have an extremely long shelf life, lasting up to 40 years.