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Propane Shortage takes toll on rural America

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In the Midwest and Northeast a shortage of propane gas is impacting millions of homes and businesses in rural areas beyond the reach of utilities.


The polar vortex has caused price increases over 46% as a second polar vortex hits the midwest and east coast. This hits home for those that feel Propane as an alternative green fuel is causing prices to equal gas if not go higher.

As an alternative green fuel that many had turned to in the 80's and 90's and with a cold winter causing homes to consume more propane than is being manufactured, does it make sense that this fuel still be a green alternative?

Does it make sense to create a pipe network like Natural Gas to get propane to rural homes and allow for home fueling of propane powered autos?

Sound off on how you feel about this green alternative fuel for auto's and homes.

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While you know my stance on CNG in cars, I much prefer Natural Gas to heating oil or propane. No waiting for truck deliveries of fuel, no risk of running out before you get the delivery, if the power goes out (and your thermostat is battery powered), you still have heat, hot water, and stove/oven (if its gas too). Just beware of the gas line leaks and occasional exploding building.

I miss Natural Gas heating so much. Hate this home heating oil $h!.

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Totally agree with you as I had to spend the weekend at my parents since my mom came home from the hospital and had forgotten how lousy it is to cook on an electric stove compared to a gas stove.

I feel for those that have to have oil or propane delivery for heating. My research leaves me with a mixed feeling about propane and the restrictions they put on delivery which can hurt people when they have to burn it as a home heating fuel let alone as an auto fuel. I think the inefficiency's in distribution will truly hurt Propane. I hope this also makes the gas companies realize the need to push Natural Gas farther out into the rural communities to serve everyone.

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  • 3 weeks later...

As a fuel, propane is a better fuel than Natural Gas. Propane is Liquid at very mild pressures which means it is denser and hence easier to store and more economical to transport. Unlike CNG which is typically stored in 3600 psi rated pressure vessels, propane tanks or bottles are pressurized only to about 120 psi. Even in 110 degree F heat, the vessel will only see about 200 psi. This means that the pressure vessel can be made cheaper, lighter and safer. It is possible to store propane in aerosol spray style cans for instance, but not CNG. While the specific energy is comparable to Natural Gas (about 49 vs 53 MJ/kg), Propane is about 3 times denser than 3000 psi CNG and denser even than liquified NG. This means that for every volumetric unit of propane you get about three times as much energy when combusted.

The only reason we even use CNG is because we have more of it from fossil fuel fields.

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Nice thing is you can have a Natural Gas Generator that would allow the Natural Gas Heater and Hot Water tank to still work fine. :) Pretty standard on homes here in washington when you have fall and winter storms that cause trees to go down. This way you stay functional with the electricity out.

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