A Day Without Propane

Posted: October 11, 2018

In America today, more than 48 million households regularly use propane to some degree or another. That’s almost 40% of the country!

Whether you just use propane for your grill, or you use it to heat your whole house, you’ve probably come to recognize many of the advantages of this convenient, clean-burning, efficient fuel.

But do you really realize how much you rely on propane—directly and indirectly? What would life be like without propane? Let’s think about this for a minute.

Propane Heat

Your Day Without Propane at Home

Where’s the heat?

Nearly 10% of households in the Midwest rely on propane as a primary heat source—particularly those who live in mobile homes, or rural areas, where access to the natural gas infrastructure might not be available.

If you happen to live in one of those areas, you already know what a day without propane would be like, especially if that day fell in the middle of a Michigan winter—frigid!

Propane furnaces are consistently best in their class in terms of energy efficiency, with ratings of up to 90 percent. And propane is also the fuel of choice for space heaters, garage heaters, and other smaller or more portable heating source due to their low cost, quick and powerful heat generation, environmental friendliness, and safety.

Where’s the meat?

Look, we’re not here to diss charcoal. Some people do enjoy that smoky flavor. We have no beef with that—pardon the pun.

But there’s a reason propane is America’s most popular and best selling type of grill. It lights up immediately. You get constant, even heat for predictable cooking times. There’s no flavor transfer, so your meat and veggies taste exactly the way they’re supposed to.

For those who love the exquisite taste of a propane-grilled meal, there’s just no substitute.

Who turned off my hot water!?

If you have a propane tankless water heater in your home, it’s hard to imagine going back to living without one!

There are some nice perks to using propane and going tankless, including faster access to hot water, lower energy consumption, and longer expected service lifespan. But probably the biggest quality of life improvement with these devices is unlimited hot water.

Basically, because a good propane tankless heater can produce 200+ gallons of hot water per hour, recover hot water twice as fast as electric, and isn’t limited by the capacity of a storage tank, you can start the dishwasher, throw in a load of laundry, and settle in for a nice long shower all at the same time—without getting doused with cold water halfway through!

Who turned off my power!?

You’d better hope that your day without propane doesn’t coincide with the power going out due to a storm, high network demand, or any other reason.

Propane makes an especially great power source for backup and standby generators. Propane can be stored safely with an essentially unlimited shelf life—unlike other fuels that evaporate and degrade over time. With proper planning, you’ll never run out of capacity. It’ll also fire up much more reliably in cold weather, or when it hasn’t been used for a long time.

Propane Agriculture

Your World Without Propane

Of course, residential and domestic uses of propane are really only part of the story here. There’s also the millions of commercial, industrial, and agricultural workers and organizations—including more than 800,000 farms across the country—who depend on propane every day.

Propane is major source of power for things like:

  • Agricultural irrigation engines
  • Grain dryers
  • Tractors
  • Commercial fleets (as propane autogas)
  • Lawn equipment

Propane helps farmers grow, process, and store the crops that you eat.

Propane may well power the vehicles that transport your children to school, or police cars in your community. Many businesses and government services have switched their vehicles over to propane fuel sources, which translates to lower prices and local tax burdens.

Propane provides direct employment for almost 150,000 employees, workers, and small business owners in the propane industry.

It’s quite likely that you will never go a single day without at least indirectly benefitting from the production and use of propane, whether by you or by someone else that you depend on.

Abundance of Propane

Fortunately, You Shouldn’t Have to Worry

A day without propane isn’t coming anytime soon:

  • Abundant supply. Although propane use is growing by leaps and bounds all over the world, production capabilities and existing stock are still well in excess of demand. The propane industry is more than prepared to scale with the market and meet new demands for propane—both expected and unexpected.
  • Locally produced. Almost all the propane used in the United States is made in the United States. Our country is, in fact, a significant exporter of propane. We don’t have to depend on others for our LPG fuel supply, and that means greater security and confidence that propane will continue to be there for you even in a changing world.
  • Scientific advances. Most of the propane we use today is produced as a byproduct of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. Although propane is already easily one of the most environmentally friendly fossil fuels, research and development is well underway to make it even better! That includes research into manufacturing propane from renewable sources. In fact, renewable “bioproane” has already started to enter the market in some areas of the country and world.

So you don’t have to worry! This thought experiment isn’t coming true, and your friendly neighborhood propane supplier has your back. (That’s another benefit of propane, by the way—dealing with your neighbors and local business owners, rather than a monopoly!)

Now go out and have a great rest of your day—brought to you, in part, by propane (and the people who produce and supply it)!