Commonly Asked Questions

Propane Facts

Propane is one of the most versatile, cost-effective and environmentally friendly fuel sources in the world with an abundant supply right here in the USA. 

Propane is an interesting fuel that emerged early in the 20th Century as an alternative fuel source that could be easily stored. In 1911, Dr. Snelling discovered a way to bottle evaporated gases and by the following year, propane was used for heating homes, cooling, providing light and cutting metal. Today, propane is used in more than 48 million households for water and space heating, indoor and outdoor cooking, clothes drying and backup power!

Check out these interesting facts about propane: 

  • Propane is one of the lightest hydrocarbons in existence, which makes it one of the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels. Its molecular formula is C3H8.
  • Propane is nontoxic, colorless, and has no smell; an odorant (which smells like rotten eggs) is added to make leaks easy to detect.
  • Liquid propane boils (from liquid to vapors) at -44F (-42.2C).
  • At one and a half times the weight of air, propane will settle in low areas.
  • In a liquid form, propane is half the weight of water.
  • About 23.5 cubic feet of air is required to burn one cubic foot of propane.
  • Complete combustion of propane produces clean water vapor and carbon dioxide.
  • Propane is one of the lightest, simplest hydrocarbons in existence, and, as a result, is one of the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels.
  • Propane is not considered a greenhouse gas.
  • Propane is 270 times more compact as a liquid than as a gas – which is why it is stored and transported as a liquid.
  • Most domestic propane is a byproduct of natural gas processing – specifically, propane is extracted as part of a process that removes condensation from natural gas pipelines. Current U.S. propane supplies are abundant due in large part to an overall increase in natural gas production. 
    • Some propane is also produced from the crude oil refinement process. During the stabilization stage of crude oil refining, heavier hydrocarbons sink, while lighter hydrocarbons (such as propane) rise, making them easy to separate. In combination with butane, propane accounts for between one and four percent of processed crude oil.
  • Nearly 90 percent of the U.S. propane supply is produced right here at home, so choosing propane supports domestic fuel independence. About three-quarters of the remaining domestic propane supply comes from Canada or Mexico.
  • Propane is the only alternative fuel listed in the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act and the National Energy Policy Act of 1992; neither the process by which propane is produced nor the combustion of propane gas produces significant acid rain contaminants.
  • Propane gas does not spill, pool, or leave a residue; this makes it harmless to soil or groundwater in the event of a leak.
  • Propane furnaces can be up to 95 percent efficient; propane tankless water heaters can achieve even greater efficiency – up to 98 percent.
  • Propane clothes dryers dry more quickly while creating less static than electric units, saving you time and money and reducing wear and tear on your wardrobe.
  • Propane cooking ranges offer precision temperature control – a key reason why nearly 95 percent of professional chefs choose to cook with gas. Propane stoves also cost less to operate than their electric counterparts.