Propane is a hydrocarbon (C3 H8) and is sometimes referred to as liquefied petroleum gas, LP-gas or LPG. Propane is produced from both natural gas processing and crude oil refining. It is nontoxic, colorless and virtually odorless. As with natural gas, an identifying odor is added so the gas can be readily detected.
Propane is a safe fuel
The propane industry has developed numerous methods to make the transport and use of propane safe:
- Propane equipment and appliances are manufactured to rigorous safety standards.
- Propane has a narrow range of flammability when compared with other petroleum products. In order to ignite, the propane/air mix must contain from 2.2 to 9.6 percent propane vapor. If the mixture contains less than 2.2 percent gas, it is too lean to burn. If it contains more than 9.6 percent, it is too rich to burn.
- Propane won’t ignite when combined with air unless the source of ignition reaches at least 940 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, gasoline will ignite when the source of ignition reaches only 430 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If liquid propane leaks, it doesn’t puddle but instead vaporizes and dissipates into the air.
- Because it is released from a pressured container as a vapor, propane can’t be ingested like gasoline or alcohol fuels.
- Because propane is virtually odorless and colorless in its natural state, a commercial odorant is added so propane can be detected if it leaks from its container.
Propane is an environmentally friendly fuel
- Propane is an approved, clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act as well as the National Energy Policy Act of 1992.
- Propane is one of the lightest, simplest hydrocarbons in existence, and, as a result, is one of the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels. New propane-fueled vehicles can meet the very tough Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standards, and one model even meets the Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) standards.
- Burning coal to generate electricity releases carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere. Per pound of fuel burned, coal emits more than twice the amount of carbon dioxide as does propane. By using propane gas instead of electricity, consumers can cut emissions and help preserve the environment.
- Propane gas is nontoxic, so it’s not harmful to soil and water. Because propane does not endanger the environment, the placement of propane tanks either above or below ground is not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- According to the EPA, much of the sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere, which produces acid rain, is attributable to coal-fired, electricity-generating facilities. In contrast, neither the process by which propane is produced nor the combustion of propane gas produces significant acid rain contaminants.
Propane is a good value
- Overall, propane fuel for fleet vehicles typically costs less than conventional or reformulated gasoline. Many states offer fuel tax incentives to encourage the use of clean fuels, thus further reducing operating costs.
Propane is a versatile fuel
Propane is used by millions of people in many different environments—homes, industry, farming and more.
- More than 14 million families use propane to fuel their furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, outdoor grills, fire places, dryers and range tops.
- Millions choose this clean-burning fuel for bus, taxi, delivery and other fleets to minimize air pollution in metropolitan areas.
- Propane is used on more than 660,000 farms for irrigation pumps, grain dryers, standby generators and other farm equipment. It is an essential fuel for crop drying, flame cultivation, fruit ripening, space and water heating and food refrigeration.
- Propane is easy to transport and can be used in areas beyond the natural gas mains. Because it is 270 times more compact as a liquid than as a gas, it is economical to store and transport as a liquid.
Courtesy of the Propane Education & Research Council, www.propanecouncil.org
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