Lakes Gas Blog
To save money on bus fuel, some districts are turning to propane.
In 2013, USA Today reported that about 95 percent of buses still ran on diesel fuel, but that many districts across the country were beginning to invest in propane buses.
Propane buses require more up-front investment (they're about $3,000 to $4,000 more each than traditional buses) but can save districts about $98,000 over the life of the bus.
In addition to a larger up-front cost, there are other downsides. Some districts with propane buses won't use them for out-of-town sports events, as there's no place to refuel on the route. As propane buses become more popular, however, more recharging stations will crop up.
A 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Energy evaluated propane school bus fleets, and listed several benefits, such as:
Cost Savings – School districts in the study saved nearly 50% per mile for fuel and maintenance
Short Payback Period – The up-front investment required for a propane fleet can be recouped in 3 to 8 years.
Improved Efficiency – Propane buses were more efficient than diesel buses.
Improved Fuel Economy – In the study, propane buses achieved fuel economy of 7.2 miles per diesel gallon equivalent.
Reduced Environmental Impact – In the study, greenhouse gas reductions were approximately 770 tons per year.
One of the first questions a new propane customer asks is
"how much propane will I need?"
Obviously, your estimated propane usage will affect your tank size and delivery schedule. It could also influence the specific buying program you choose.
So how do you figure it out?
Calculating estimated usage yourself can be complicated. A number of factors affect your usage, including:
- Your home size
- Your thermostat setting
- The climate of the area where you live
- Energy efficient windows and appliances
- How often you use your appliances
- The number of people in your home
- The number of bathrooms in your home
The list goes on. So you could reach for a calculator to figure it out – and risk miscalculations that could cause you to run out of propane- or you could calculate the easy way.
Just talk to your Lakes Gas sales representative.
They're trained in estimating usage, and they'll take all these factors into consideration to help you find the tank size, buying plan, and delivery schedule that fits your needs.
Sounds way simpler, right?
Try it for yourself. Contact your nearest Lakes Gas location.
Concerned about the environment? You can feel good about using propane. Here are some facts from our friends at Propane101.com.
Propane is clean burning. Unlike other fuels, such as petroleum products, it is not considered a greenhouse gas, one that emits radiation and contributes to the greenhouse effect. In fact, it is listed as an “approved clean fuel” by the U.S. government. It emits far fewer damaging emissions than any other readily available carbon-based engine fuel. Overall, it’s an environmentally-friendly choice.
You hear about oil spills often. They devastate coastal areas and affect regional economies for years. But there’s a reason you never hear about propane spills. Even in its liquid state, propane is not toxic, so a spill or the release of propane vapor will not harm the environment. A spill will freeze wildlife or plants it touches, but the effects are far less severe than an oil spill.
•Propane is not damaging to fresh or salt-water ecosystems
•Spilled propane does not harm soil
•Propane vapor is not considered air pollution and will not negatively affect the air
•Propane is not harmful if accidentally inhaled by animals or people
Feel good about the fuel you use to heat your home. Contact a Lakes Gas sales representative today.
Spring will be here before you know it. That means blooming flowers, more time outdoors, and of course, grilling.
But there are a few things you should know about your grill’s propane tank before you fire it up for the season.
Take a good look at the date stamped on the top of the tank. That’s the year your tank was certified. Propane suppliers will not fill your tank if it has been certified more than 12 years ago.
It’s a safety measure. Old tanks may have leaks, rust, punctures or other safety hazards. Plus, expiration dates ensure that your tank has the latest valve safety update.
What are my options?
If your tank is expired, you have two options. Depending on the tank, its safety features and the date of initial certification, you may be able to get it recertified. This extends its expiration date for another five years.
If your tank cannot be recertified, there’s no need to worry. Lakes Gas’ tank exchange program makes getting a new tank easy. Just bring it to your nearest Lakes Gas location. We also have Swap and Go cabinets at many area gas stations.
Propane tanks come in all sizes. The amount of propane you'll need will determine the size of your tank. A 20 lb cylinder used on your grill would not be large enough to heat your home, and you'd need hundreds of them to supply enough propane to run a commercial kitchen. Here's a rundown of various tank sizes, courtesy of Propane101.com.
Cylinders, or bottles, are normally used for grilling and other outdoor activities. Unlike tanks, they must always be kept upright, and they cannot be stored inside.
20 lb tanks hold about 4.7 gallons
30 lb tanks hold about 7 gallons
40 lb tanks hold about 9.4 gallons
100 lb tanks hold about 26.3 gallons
Home heating and energy
To deliver energy to your home, you're going to need something a bit larger than even the biggest cylinders. Otherwise, you'd have to refill your propane daily. The tank you need depends on many factors, including the size of your home, how many people live there, and the climate of your area.
Some common residential tank sizes are:
Commercial applications definitely use more propane than you do at home, but it may surprise you to know that their tanks are not much different than the one in your yard. In fact, many commercial propane users have the same larger 1,000 gallon tanks used by some homes; they just usually have more of them to meet their needs. It's not uncommon for a business to have two or three 1,000-gallon tanks that they fill more frequently than the home user.
Don't know how much propane you'll need? Your Lakes Gas representative will help you figure it out.