Propane is a hydrocarbon (C3H8) 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, in roughly equal amounts from each source. Nearly 97 percent of propane consumed in the United States is produced in North America. 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 good for the environment
Propane is an approved, clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and is one of the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels. Tests conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show that propane-fueled vehicles produce 30 percent to 90 percent less carbon monoxide and about 50 percent fewer toxins and other smog-producing emissions than gasoline engines. Propane also is nontoxic, so it’s not harmful to soil or water.
Propane is used by millions of Americans each day.
People use propane in and around their homes for furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, outdoor grills, fireplaces, and appliances.
On farms, propane-fueled equipment and technologies control pests, dry crops, and power irrigation pumps.
Industrial uses include propane-driven forklifts and fleet vehicles.
And millions of commercial establishments, including restaurants and hotels, depend on propane for heating, cooking, and other uses.
Propane is convenient to use
Yes. With up to 56,000 miles of pipeline and more than 6,000 retail dealer locations, propane is readily available throughout the United States. And because propane is stored in portable tanks, it can be used in areas beyond gas mains.
To fuel homes, large tanks can be buried underground because propane is a nontoxic, nonpoisonous fuel that doesn’t contaminate aquifers or soil. Refueling a propane vehicle takes about the same time as refueling a gasoline vehicle. Propane is the only alternative fuel with fueling stations located in every state.
Propane is a Safe Fuel
The propane industry has developed numerous methods to ensure the safe transport and use of propane:
- Propane equipment and appliances are manufactured to rigorous safety standards.
- Propane has a narrow range of flammability when compared with other petroleum products.
- Propane won’t ignite when combined with air unless the source of ignition reaches at least 940 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.
- 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.
- 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.