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  1. #1
    AndrewMoins Guest

    Default Propane cylinder exchange - the real cost

    Went to refill the propane tank today and got to thinking...

    Ever wanted to use of those propane exchange places? Here is some math for you:

    A standard 20# tank holds, well, 20# at 80% tank capacity. Those are the design specs. In NM, the cost per gallon at the UHaul or RV centers is about $2.79 a gallon. A gallon of propane weights about 4.2 pounds. Capacity: 4.7 gallons.

    Blue Rhino and AmeriGas are two popular services. They fill their tanks to 15#. In some markets Rhino still fills them to 17#. They are not full tanks.

    Both of them orginally issued statements to the effect that federal law prohibited filling a tank more than 80% of capacity. A true statement, but disingenuous. An OPD-equipped 20# tank will take 20# when full, and still be at 80% of the rated capacity. Just watch the U-Haul guy fill it using the scale and the dial. I once asked the guy about the 80% rule, and he indicated that he had to take safety training before he could fill, and they made it clear it would take the entire 20#. Every tank has a tare weight stamped on the side - and the refill guys use that and the dial gauge to determine how much to put in the tank.

    If you visit the Blue Rhino website today, there is this message:

    How much propane does Blue Rhino put in its tanks?

    Inflationary pressures, including the volatile costs of steel, diesel fuel, and propane, have had a significant impact on the cylinder exchange industry. In 2008, to help control these rising costs, Blue Rhino followed the example of other consumer products companies with a product content change. We reduced the amount of propane in our tanks from 17 pounds to 15 pounds.

    To ensure our consumers are properly notified, Blue Rhino clearly marks the amount of propane contained in our tanks, right on the package.

  2. #2
    AndreyBew Guest


    Yeah....I did the math years ago. I really think the exchanges are more for the Burb Bar-B-Q er who may only use one tank a year.

    I use the larger tanks and have them filled at Southern States usually. I use the biggest one to fill my smaller ones right down to the lantern size, non refillable ones (They refill very well if you put them in the freezer first).

  3. #3
    AngeloGoart Guest


    $2.20 last refill at Ortega's on 2nd.

    I've never used an exchange service. Guess I still will avoid them if at all possible.

  4. #4
    Angelaspamb Guest


    I always knew it was a matter of convenience to use an exchange. Never really paid any attention to it. Until the other day and we ran out and that was close and ! That and the fact the last couple years we have become very 'budget aware'. So stuff like that just shocks me.

  5. Default

    WoW... and to think all of this good information came from me complaining about getting ripped off by the Ice Cream Companies going from 1/2 gallon to 1.75 quarts and now...look.... 1.5 quarts in some cases for the same price. I have cut way down on Ice cream and only buy on sale unless it is a real emergency...

    Gas comes free with sufficient quantities of Ice Cream and a bit of lactose intolerance....



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