Propane Co’s Under-Fill Tanks

Propane companies are saving money by under-filling the tanks they sell.


Nothing says summer in America like cooking out on a gas grill. And nothing says questionable sales tactics in America like companies who reduce the volume of the product they’re selling without telling you and without reducing the price.

This is a 20 pound propane tank. But for safety reasons, these things were never sold with 20 pounds of propane in them. They were, however, sold with 17 pounds. Until last year.

That’s when propane followed oil and gas prices to record highs: propane prices got close to 2 bucks a gallon. So rather than hiking prices, some major suppliers quietly reduced the amount of propane in the tank from 17 to 15 pounds.

But now propane prices are way back down: half of what they were last year. And yet; surprise: the can still only has about 15 pounds in it, and it costs about the same amount.

I called Amerigas and Blue Rhino… two of America’s largest propane retailers… to ask about this: neither returned my call.

But if this less for more tactic burns you up, there is a simple solution to propane problems: take your tank to a re-fill station and get your money’s worth.

“To refill a 20 pound cylinder here, it’s $17.00 even… You get approximately between 18 and 19 pounds.”

Bottom line? When you’re selling a product in a container that you can’t see through, it’s easy to change the amount. But when you see through the ploy, it’s easy to change the way you’re buying your propane.

Stacy Johnson

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