What Is Propane?

Propane is a gas that is compressed and stored as a liquid. This liquid also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is what’s stored in your propane tank. It is non-toxic, colorless and virtually odorless. The rotten-egg smell people associate with propane is caused by an additive called Methyl Mercaptan (Methanethiol). This is a safety measure to ensure a leak can be detected quickly. In order for propane to be used as a fuel, it must be converted back into a gas. This is a simple process. LPG turns from a liquid to a gas when it boils. Because of its low boiling point (-44°F), LPG will begin to boil and vaporize when pressure is released. So, the next time you turn on your propane appliance, just think, you made the LPG in your tank boil. If you could see through the walls of your tank, it would essentially look like water boiling! I bet you didn’t know you possessed such power, did you? Pretty cool.

Where Does It Come From?

So, where does propane come from? It is primarily a byproduct of natural gas processing, with some being produced from crude oil refinement. It is extracted from liquid components during natural gas processing to prevent condensation in natural gas pipelines. It is estimated that 90% of the American propane supply is generated domestically. This abundant supply makes propane a reliable choice for American consumers.

Propane is Environmentally Friendly!

You may think since propane is derived from fossil fuels; it may not be exactly environmentally friendly. Well then, you’d be wrong. Propane is approved as an alternative clean-burning fuel in the National Energy Policy Act of 1992 and the Clean Air Act of 1990. Excellent…government certification! The government is never wrong and we should trust them implicitly. (Please recognize the sarcasm here). Let’s talk facts and you can decide.
Propane has a lower carbon content than fuel oil, gasoline, diesel, kerosene and ethanol and contains significantly less greenhouse gas emissions per unit compared to other fuels. Propane has a lower carbon footprint, producing 38% fewer emissions than oil, with low carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions.

  • When released into the air, propane does not give off carbon dioxide or act as a Greenhouse Gas.
  • Propane is a clean-burning, non-toxic fuel that can safely be used indoors.
  • Propane is lead-free and has extremely low levels of Sulphur – a contributor to acid rain.
  • Propane is a clean-burning fuel that emits virtually no soot and low carbon monoxide, hydrogen and nitrogen oxides. These are the basic precursors of ground-level ozone.
  • Propane is stored in liquid form, under pressure, in your tank. If it is released, propane becomes a vapor and dissipates quickly into the atmosphere and will not contaminate soil or water.

Also, please note, propane is one of the most efficient fuels you can burn. It contains twice the energy of natural gas. Simply put, if you have a more efficient fuel, you’ll use less of it. That, by itself, will help reduce your carbon footprint.