Propane is separated from crude oil during the refining process and also extracted from natural gas or oil wellhead gas at processing plants. Propane is normally transported and stored in a liquid state under moderate pressure or refrigeration for economy and ease of handling in shipping and distribution. When the pressure is released or the temperature is increased, it is usable as a flammable gas. Propane is colorless and odorless so an odorant is added to allow for its detection. Propane is clean burning, producing negligible amounts of pollutants when properly consumed.
Where does AmeriGas come in?
AmeriGas has over 250 domestic and international sources of propane supply. The availability of propane supply is dependent upon, among other things, the severity of winter weather, the price and availability of competing fuels such as natural gas and crude oil, and the amount and availability of imported supply. We use a number of interstate pipelines, as well as railroad tank cars, delivery trucks and barges, to transport propane from suppliers to our storage facilities and terminals located in strategic areas across the U.S. and then onto our distribution sites.
Delivering to You
Our distribution sites are also known as our district locations. If you’ve even been to your local district, you’ve probably only been in the main office. But many districts also have an appliance showroom, warehouse, and service facilities, with one or more 18,000 to 30,000 gallon storage tanks on site. In fact, AmeriGas has about 5,700 of these large volume tanks with capacities greater than 2,000 gallons.
Retail deliveries of propane are usually made to customers by means of bobtail and rack trucks. Propane is pumped from the bobtail truck, which generally holds 2,400 to 3,000 gallons of propane, into a stationary storage tank at a customer’s location. The typical capacities of these tanks ranges anywhere from approximately 120 gallons to approximately 1,200 gallons. Other propane deliveries are made via portable cylinders, including AmeriGas Cylinder Exchange propane grill cylinders. Portable cylinders have typical capacities of 1 to 120 gallons. Some of these deliveries are made to the customer’s location, where empty cylinders are either picked up or replenished in place.