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Old 08-15-2011, 05:58 PM   #1
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Buying LP Gas: By the gallon or tank?

Over the years all of us have visited many different places to refill our propane tanks.

Some places charge by the gallon only for what they put into your tank.

Others charge a flat fee depending on the size of the tank (even if the tank is partially full and you just want to top it off!)

I think it's a rip-off to pay a flat fee, because often there is a good amount of LP gas left in my tanks.

Today, after filling my 5# tank (used for the grill), I questioned the attendant about this, and he got all p---ed off and told me to take my MH elsewhere to get if filled. He refused to fill my 90# tank, which was only 1/4 full and told me to take it accross the street to the local UHaul.

I was flabbergasted by his treatment of me and will never go back to the smaller, non big-box hardware store to which I was trying to give some business.

How do they charge for propane in your neighborhood?
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:59 PM   #2
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By the gallon. There is a meter on the fill line.
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:04 PM   #3
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Neither, I buy it by the pound. My place only charges me what they put in the tank not some fee for the tank fill up. The scale can actually be used to accurately measure it. If I were you, I would make it a point to discourge as many as you can from using the first guy. He obviously has something to hide.
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:24 PM   #4
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The only place local to me puts the tank on the scale and shuts off the pump when the scale weighs full. The price is the same if you bring in an empty tank or one 3/4 full. Since I have an auto switchover regulator, I never bring in a tank unless it is empty.
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:28 PM   #5
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I sell propane in NJ at an Agway store. We sell propane by the pound and MUST fill the tank on a scale in NJ law compliance. We, of course charge by what goes into the tank. An RV with attached (permanent) tanks get filled by the meter on the tank station and is the only exception to filling by weight. The filling of tanks and charging accordinly is the easy part, the hard part is that tanks only have a 12 year lifespan (without recirtification) and any tank older than 12 years (by the month) we will not fill. Some customers do not like or know about the law, which is Federal, any do not like the thought of having to buy a new tank. MPJ

PS I've filled way too many tanks in the past 20 years!
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:37 PM   #6
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By the pound in these here parts. Tank goes on the scale, filled and the additional weight is all I'm charged for. That's at our Canadian Tire gas bar and very nice people they are, too.
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:51 PM   #7
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Thank you for your responses. Now that I think of it, one of the UHaul places I go to both weighs and measures by the gallon.

BTW, will I also have to replace the permanently installed 90# tank on my MH once it's >12 years old?
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:56 PM   #8
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While in Massachusetts 4 years ago, I asked for a top-up on a 30 pound tank. At $35 I said to stop since I didn't want to pay anymore. Pricing was based on $7-8 per gallon I think.

At Costco here, it is a flat rate for a 30 pound fill which works out to $24 with tax. Since I have the auto switch over, I never take anything other than an empty tank for refill.

Found this conversion on the internet:
Propane weighs about 4.2 pounds per US gallon, at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Propane expands 1.5% per 10 degrees F.
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:21 PM   #9
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I pay by the pound. I've never seen any other way.
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:40 PM   #10
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My aluminum 30's got a visual inspection that extended life 5-years IIRC...
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:40 PM   #11
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Here in NM, it is not permitted to charge for propane not delivered. Fillers may charge only for what they pump into a cylinder.

Filling a cylinder (a safety issue) is, however, different from charging for propane (a financial issue). NM strongly recommends filling portable cylinders by weight (i.e., on a certified scale), only using the volume method (i.e., using the bleed valve) as required. Filling motorhomes is, of course, different; only the volume method can be used. Apart from the preference for weight over volume, NM follows the codes set forth in NFPA 58.


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Old 08-15-2011, 07:46 PM   #12
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I usually get mine filled at the local U-Haul by the pound. I was camping last week & the campground had propane. I thought it would be sweet to just plop them off the trailer & plunk them back on right there--until I found out it was $24 per tank no matter how full they were. They didn't plop or plunk anywhere. I'll ge them filled at the U-Haul!
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:53 PM   #13
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I bought a fill hose on ebay and had my propane guy install the correct valve on my 500 gallon house tank. I fill my own now for under $2.00 a gallon.
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:56 PM   #14
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I have a local welding supply shop fill my tanks. They place the tank on a scale, connect the hose, fill by the gallon and then check the weight after removing the fill hose.
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