Do you have any questions about the services that we offer?
Click on the links below for the answers. If you don’t see the question you are looking for, contact us. One of our representatives is waiting to answer your questions.
- Q: What is propane?
- Q: Where does propane come from?
- Q: What influences propane prices?
- Q: Is propane gas a safe fuel?
- Q: Why do prices vary from one dealer to another?
- Q: What happens if I run out of propane?
- Q: Are your prices competitive?
- Q: Which way are prices likely to go?
- Q: Is there anything you can do about the smell of heating oil?
- Q: I’ve been buying my oil from someone who sells cheap oil in the area but who doesn’t do equipment service. If I lose my heat, can you help me?
Propane is a naturally occurring product composed of hydrogen and carbon molecules (known as hydrocarbons). Methane (natural gas) and pentane (gasoline) are other members of the hydrocarbon family.
Propane occurs naturally as a gas at atmospheric pressure but can be liquefied if subjected to moderate pressure. We store and transport propane in its compressed liquid form. By opening a valve to release propane from a pressurized storage container, we are able to vaporize it into a gas for use. So propane is a liquid until readied for use. While propane is non-toxic, it is also odorless. We add an identifying odor to it so the gas can be readily detected.
Propane is not produced on its own, but as a by-product of two other processes: natural gas processing and petroleum refining.
Natural gas plants extract materials such as propane and butane from the original natural gas source. Similarly, when oil refineries make major products such as motor gasoline and heating oil, they produce some propane as a by-product of those processes.
It is important to understand that because propane production is a “by-product” by nature, the available volume from natural gas processing and oil refining cannot be adjusted when prices and/or demand for propane fluctuate.
1. Crude oil and natural gas prices
Propane is a by-product of both natural gas and petroleum and its price is based on the going rate for both.
2. Supply/demand balance
Colder-than-normal weather can put extra pressure on propane prices during the high-demand winter season because there are no readily available sources of increased supply except for imports. And imports may take several weeks to arrive, during which time larger-than-normal withdrawals from inventories may occur, sending prices upward. Cold weather early in the heating season can cause higher prices sooner rather than later, since early inventory withdrawals affect supply availability for the rest of the winter.
3. Proximity of supply
There are three supply points in the propane distribution chain:
- Consumer tank – A larger consumer tank will allow the consumer’s fuel to last through supply shortages.
- Supplier storage – A larger supplier storage will allow for more deliveries to consumers before resupply is required.
- Wholesaler storage – Suppliers who receive resupply from hundreds of miles away are subject to transportation and logistical restrictions & problems.
4. Markets served
Propane demand comes from several different markets, which exhibit distinct patterns in response to the seasons and other influences.
Residential demand, for instance, depends on the weather, so prices tend to rise in the winter.
The petrochemical sector is more flexible in its need for propane and tends to buy it during the spring and summer, when prices decline. If producers of petrochemicals should have to depart from this pattern for some reason, the coinciding demand could raise prices. And when prices rise unexpectedly, as they do sometimes in the winter, petrochemical producers pull back, helping to ease prices.
Prices could also be driven up if agricultural sector demand for propane to dry crops remains high late into the fall, when residential demand begins to rise.
Yes, when used properly. Although propane gas is naturally colorless and odorless, an odorant is added to alert users in the event of a leak. To be familiar with the odor of propane gas, ask us for a sniff test. Storage, use and handling of propane fall under the standards adopted by the National Fire Protection Association, Title 49 USC, and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code requires the use of these standards.
Propane dealers operate in a competitive marketplace and prices may vary among companies. Transportation costs contribute to geographic variations in price. Companies that provide complete 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week service are usually more expensive than companies that offer limited service hours. Also, a few companies only sell propane and offer no other services. Choose a level of comfort to suit your needs.
1. Close all propane tank or cylinder supply valves.
2. Call us.
Yes. One of the things that allows us to be competitive is our storage capacity. We buy in larger quantities than some fuel dealers, which means a lower cost for us and a lower price for you.
We wish we could tell you, but we have no idea. There are so many factors that could send prices up or down at any time. Just look at 2008, when many analysts were saying oil could go up to $200 a barrel, but then it dropped to $50 a barrel instead. In two of the last four years, prices dropped during the heating season. There’s really no way to predict fuel prices.
Yes! As long as your heating system is working properly, you should not smell oil in your home. If you do, it means something is WRONG! A heating oil smell could come from a leak, combustion or burner troubles, heat exchanger failure or exhaust system problems. Call us and we’ll come over to correct the problem. If you have a leak, we’ll remove the oil and help get the smell out of your home. If you ever smell oil coming from your vents, call us immediately.
Q: I’ve been buying my oil from someone who sells cheap oil in the area but who doesn’t do equipment service. If I lose my heat, can you help me?
As much as we would like to help, our first priority is always to take care of our own customers. Providing our customers with fast, high-quality service (especially in an emergency) is what we are all about. We can’t do this if our technicians are chasing calls at all points on the compass to take care of our competitors’ customers because our competitors can’t. If you buy your fuel from us, however, it will create an obligation on our part to provide you with quality service.