Although the natural gas industry has seen a variety of trends in the six decades since Lin-Gas Propane Service was first founded, use of propane fuel is on the rise, a direction school districts would be wise to note.

According to a recent piece from the appropriately named website School Transportation News, more districts should consider the benefits of using propane fuel in their buses and make the switch from traditional diesel, as many already have. For starters, propane fuel prices have fallen significantly since 2010 in relation to other transportation fuels. The average price difference between major market marker prices for gasoline and propane has increased by more than $0.76 per gallon, from $0.37 per gallon in 2010 to $1.12 per gallon in 2012.

In addition to being a more cost efficient fuel at the pump, propane fueled buses require less oil, less maintenance, and typically less downtime when being repaired than their diesel counterparts.

“One of the reasons why we purchased the propane buses was to obviously cut costs,” said Pat Mitchell, director of transportation for Mobile County Public School System and one of the some 60 million propane users in the United States. “When we are able to save any kind of money, the budget department puts that money back in the classrooms to help out students.”

On a practical level, propane makes a lot of sense for school buses as well. Buses that run off propane are substantially quieter than diesel ones. This makes for a more enjoyable and safer ride for students. Students don’t have to raise their voices to talk over the loud diesel engine, which in turn helps bus drivers be able to hear what’s going on around them outside.

Over 8 million households currently use propane in some capacity and due to its lower cost and greater efficiency more and more school districts should consider it too.

When most people think of propane, they probably start to think about barbecue. People might be prone to seeing white propane tanks outside of some homes, but have probably given little thought to what sort of other functions the gas may have, or how much use a homeowner can get out of it.
As most of us undoubtedly already know, propane is good for a lot more than just running the grill. This versatile energy source is used by over 9 million families for a wide array of uses, ranging from furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, cooktops, generators, and many others. Water heating with propane is quite a bit cheaper than heating with other gas products.
Wherever a homeowner may typically depend on other energy sources, propane is more than sufficient for the job. Not only that, but it burns cleaner, and it’s more cost-effective, energy efficient, and reliable than most of the alternatives.
What people may or may not realize — even those who use it around their homes — is that propane fuel is also a popular energy source in industry and agriculture thanks to its use as a cost efficient fuel.
There are over a million commercial operations, like hotels, laundromats, restaurants, and bars use propane in much the same way a homeowner would: for cooling or heating the air inside the building, refrigeration, cooking, drying clothes, lighting materials, and, of course, barbecuing. Odds are, a business you shop at or restaurant you eat at prefers water heating with propane.
As mentioned, propane is widely used by farmers and others in the agricultural industry for a number of reasons. Over 600,000 agricultural sites use propane in one way or another — some of the most popular uses are for grain dryers, irrigation pumps, standby generations, and a number of other pieces of machinery you might find on the farm. Farmers also use it for flame cultivation, grain dryers, fruit ripening, space and water heating, and refrigeration of food and other perishables.
That’s a pretty impressive resume.

People have a lot of questions about propane fuel. There are news stories every now and again about a tank of propane bursting, or something catching fire due to an ignition linked, at least partially, to nearby propane equipment. Consequently, people become understandably just a bit curious about propane safety.

Most people become curious about propane tanks in general. How can something so flammable be safely stored in a tank that some homeowners keep inside their homes, or very close to it? Well, keep in mind that those tanks are very well built. The reason they’re used is simple — propane can exist as a liquid or a vapor, but is literally hundreds of times more compact as a liquid than it is as a gas. Storing propane inside of those tanks you see is a choice made by the math of the situation. If you wanted to buy propane as a gas, you’d be getting about 270 times less energy for the same tank.

When propane is released from the tank, it comes out as a clean-burning fuel gas. Millions of homeowners, businesses, industrial and agricultural sites, and other locations rely on this gas for its versatility and efficacy. It’s widely used for heating or cooling air, cutting, heat treating, barbecuing, crop drying, cultivation, water heating, and refrigeration. Propane services virtually every need.

The gas itself isn’t a danger to you at all. In fact, if it weren’t for the engineers and manufacturers adding odorants to it, humans wouldn’t be able to detect it at all! It’s also non-toxic, so there’s very little to be afraid of when it comes to propane.

Of all the various available gas products, propane fuel is easily one of the safest and most cost-efficient fuels available today. There’s a lot of hard science and intelligent engineering responsible for those tanks and the gas inside of them. They’re very safe to use.