How to buy propane
Do you need to buy propane to fill your propane tank? Here are some useful guidelines to follow when buying propane from a propane dealer. The thing to remember is that each situation is different and buying propane at the right price is usually the result of extensive research and quotes comparison between propane companies near your home.
What it costs to buy propane
Many factors influence the price you pay when you buy propane. It is commonly admitted that propane prices per gallon fluctuate according to how far you live from the propane company (pushes prices up), how close you are to a major propane supply source (pushes prices up), how cold the climate in your region is (pushes prices up), how much demand there is for propane locally (pushes prices up) and how much propane your household uses (pushes prices down).
Propane prices per gallon vary significantly from state to state, and county to county. The US Energy Information Administration provides useful data that can be used as a benchmark when looking at what propane companies offer customers. For example, over the last winter season (2012-2013), the average national propane price was $2.436 per gallon. Nebraska was the state in which, over the same period, it was the cheapest to buy propane ($1.344 per gallon average) and Rhode Island was the state in which it was the most expensive to buy propane ($3.439 per gallon average).
Where you should go to buy propane
Where to go to buy propane depends on whether you lease or own your propane tank:
- If you rent your propane tank, you are bound by your propane supply agreement to buy propane exclusively from your propane company. This makes it all the more important to shop around before deciding on a propane company if you prefer renting to buying a propane tank, as most Americans do. Otherwise you will have to wait until the end of your contract to switch propane companies and buy propane from a cheaper company.
- If you own your propane tank you are free to choose the company from which to buy propane when you need to fill your tank. This is why buying propane is usually cheaper when owning a propane tank: propane companies know that propane users who own their propane tank are free to choose so they lower their prices to attract customers. Again, if you want to buy propane at the lowest price per gallon, you should compare quotes between propane companies before making a selection.
What to take into account when you buy propane
When you buy propane from an LP gas dealer, the price you are offered depends on several factors, as mentionned above. However, it is also worth asking yourself, when ordering a propane delivery or entering into a propane supply agreement with a propane company, what services you will need from the company, whether you need specific pricing or budget options, what their safety and customer service reputation is, among other things. Buying propane is important since propane fuels many homes in the US - running out of propane, if you rely on LP gas for a lot of appliances, can be very inconvenient, so plan carefully and well in advance.