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Old 11-05-2012, 10:33 AM   #1
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Propane prices

Why hasn't the prices of propane decreased like natural gas?

Man, $27 each for 2 x 30 lbers.

At least my place is offering 1 free tank fillip with the purchase of 10.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:55 AM   #2
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I'm not that good at math but I think you're paying for that free tank a couple of times. Some of the professors on the forum will figure it out exactly. Sal
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:56 AM   #3
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Oddly enough, the U-Haul where I stock up on propane for my Interstate has two separate prices, one for portable tanks $4.10 per gallon (about $0.95 per pound); one for Flexible Fuel Vehicles $2.77 per gallon (about $0.65 per pound). Since my Interstate has a built-in tank, they charged me the FFV price. Lucky!

Anyway, your question prompted me to do a bit of research on the Department of Energy's web page. Here are two quotes:

Quote:
A unique feature of propane is that it is not produced for its own sake, but is a by-product of two other processes, natural gas processing and petroleum refining.

Natural gas plant production of propane primarily involves extracting materials such as propane and butane from natural gas to prevent these liquids from condensing and causing operational problems in natural gas pipelines. Similarly, when oil refineries make major products such as motor gasoline and heating oil, some propane is produced as a by-product of those processes. It is important to understand that the by-product nature of propane production means that the volume made available from natural gas processing and oil refining cannot be adjusted when prices and/or demand for propane fluctuate.
Quote:
Propane prices are subject to a number of influences, some common to all petroleum products, and others unique to propane. Because propane is portable, it can serve many different markets, from fueling barbecue grills to producing petrochemicals. The price of propane in these markets is influenced by many factors, including the prices of competing fuels in each market; the distance propane has to travel to reach a customer; and the volumes used by a customer. More specifically, propane prices are affected by: Crude Oil and Natural Gas Prices – Although propane is produced from both crude oil refining and natural gas processing, its price is influenced mainly by the cost of crude oil. This is because propane competes mostly with crude oil-based fuels.
In less bureaucratic words, it costs that much because propane producers can get away with charging that much, and users will pony up the money rather than do without.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:11 AM   #4
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Because we stay at my uncle's KOA, we get the "employee discount", which, at last top-off was $82.00 for 23 gallons. I'm old enough to remember when propane got to $1.00, and I freaked!
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:14 AM   #5
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Because we stay at my uncle's KOA, we get the "employee discount", which, at last top-off was $82.00 for 23 gallons. I'm old enough to remember when propane got to $1.00, and I freaked!
$3.56 per gallon isn't bad, these days. How much do non-employee have to pay there?
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:42 AM   #6
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In Branson, MO, we pay $24. per tank. Flat rate. If your tank is slightly empty it's $24. If it's really empty, it's $24.

No dealer in the area "Tops" the tank. Hmmmmm, methinks collusion is lurking in Branson.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:46 AM   #7
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In Branson, MO, we pay $24. per tank. Flat rate. If your tank is slightly empty it's $24. If it's really empty, it's $24.

No dealer in the area "Tops" the tank. Hmmmmm, methinks collusion is lurking in Branson.
Really, what size tank? Or is it the same price regardless of the tank size, too?

Check with U-Haul. Not every U-Haul dealer sells propane, but those that do, usually will top off your tank rather than swapping them out.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:59 AM   #8
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Yea, same here Murray,

My tanks were about 1/8 and 1/4 remaining, Same price fill-up for both. Next time I will ask for a per gallon pricing and see if I get it.

Protagonist,

Just like diesel, a cheaper fuel to produce but demand drives the cost.

I work in the oilfield and never get a "discount"' what's with that?

I can drag my AS to get it filled up, then can I get the cheaper FFV price?

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Old 11-05-2012, 12:10 PM   #9
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Suggest you check other propane suppliers. I prefer to fill my two 30 pound tanks at Tractor Supply Company because their prices are competitive, they charge by the gallon not by a set tank size fee, and they are willing to top off partially filled tanks. Warning because of local ordinances not all locations sell propane. On October 30 I filled a tank at $2.29 per gallon at their store in Lapeer, Michigan far cheaper than any other supplier in the area .
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:19 PM   #10
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I can drag my AS to get it filled up, then can I get the cheaper FFV price?
Like I said, I was lucky. The diesel fuel filler cap is hidden behind a swing-out panel by the driver's door, the propane fill is on the passenger side behind the rear wheelwell. The guy filling the tank thought that it was a FFV becuase he's never seen an Interstate before and didn't know it's really a diesel. And for $1.33 per gallon difference in price, I wasn't going to enlighten him.

Chances are, I'll never have that luck again. Next time, probably back to full price unless I get the same attendant again and I can remind him what he charged me this time.

Still don't know why they charge less to fill an FFV than to fill a portable tank, though.
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:31 PM   #11
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A 30# propane tank holds 7 gallons of propane. A 20# tank holds 4.7 gallons of propane.

I just bought LP for my house at $1.09 per gallon. Do the math, we are getting screwed filling 20# tanks for $3 to $4 per gallon. I got a valve and hose and fill mine from my 500 gal home tank. Now for $1,09 per gallon or $7.56 for a 30# tank.
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ventport View Post
A 30# propane tank holds 7 gallons of propane. A 20# tank holds 4.7 gallons of propane.

I just bought LP for my house at $1.09 per gallon. Do the math, we are getting screwed filling 20# tanks for $3 to $4 per gallon. I got a valve and hose and fill mine from my 500 gal home tank. Now for $1,09 per gallon or $7.56 for a 30# tank.
I have been thinking about doing this. Would you mind sharing some details on your setup?

Thanks,
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:45 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ventport View Post
A 30# propane tank holds 7 gallons of propane. A 20# tank holds 4.7 gallons of propane.

I just bought LP for my house at $1.09 per gallon. Do the math, we are getting screwed filling 20# tanks for $3 to $4 per gallon. I got a valve and hose and fill mine from my 500 gal home tank. Now for $1,09 per gallon or $7.56 for a 30# tank.
Not really getting screwed. You're buying propane for $1.09 per gallon for home use, and taking advantage of that to fill your trailer.

If you were buying it just for your trailer, the equation changes.

Installing a 500-gallon tank if you're only using it as a stockpile for your trailerwould make that 500 gallons of propane a whole lot more expensive. Buying a tank will set you back somewhere around $2000. So, you buy a tank for $2,000. You buy 500 gallons of propane for $500. You've just spent $2500 for 500 gallons of propane, or $5 per gallon. Not much economy there.

Of course, for your second 500 gallons, it's a lot cheaper ($3 per gallon for 1000 gallons). And your third ($2.33 per gallon for 1500 gallons), and so forth.

So, how long will it take the average Airstreamer to use up 500 gallons of propane? And remember, you can't resell it. You're only exempt from the need to be licensed for propane transfer if it's for "personal use," meaning transfer from a tank you own to a tank you own, for you to use. Start reselling your propane— or even filling someone else's tanks for free— and all of a sudden you've got fees, tests, licenses, regulatory requirements for "points of transfer" and a whole slew of things you don't want to deal with.

If we don't need to buy in bulk, we aren't really being screwed by not being able to buy in bulk.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:48 PM   #14
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The store I use has it for $2.00 a gallon (at least last I filled up a week ago). Not bad!!
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