How much do you know about Earth Day?

The first Earth Day was observed April 22, 1970, as a response to growing concern about the health of the environment and the damages being wrought upon it by industry. US Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) founded Earth Day and as a result launched a growing wave of environmental activism that has become a global movement in the 44 years since that first observance.

The ever-present question raised by today’s Earth Day observances is: how do we continue to progress as a global society while still being mindful of our impact on the environment? The resulting discussion continues to refine global efforts toward environmental improvements.

It may surprise you to learn that propane, a fossil fuel, is on the list of environmentally-friendly fuels.

The term “fossil fuel” has come to harbor some negative associations over the years – sometimes fairly so. However, not all fossil fuels are created equal. Coal, for example, has earned its reputation as a significant environmental pollutant due to the release of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide into the air as it burns. Sulfur dioxide is the contributing factor in acid rain, which creates a host of environmental damages, although the coal industry has made great progress in reducing emissions from the use of coal as a fuel in the generation of electricity

The use of propane instead of coal-generated electricity for power results in lower emissions. In fact, the process by which propane is produced, as well as the combustion of propane gas, does not produce significant contaminants to the atmosphere, including those that cause acid rain. Because propane is one of the lightest, simplest hydrocarbons in existence, it burns more cleanly than any other fossil fuel. What’s more, propane gas is nontoxic and does not have a negative impact on soil or water. In fact, because propane does not endanger the environment, the EPA does not regulate the placement of propane tanks, either above or below ground. Of all the fuels available for use worldwide, propane has been approved by the EPA as a clean fuel and is listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act as well as the National Energy Policy Act of 1992.

Earth Day reminds us of the delicate balance we must strike between energy use and the side effects of such consumption. Propane meets or exceeds many of the governmental standards set forth for the protection of the environment. If your home or business relies on propane for cooking, heating, or powering vehicles and equipment, you’re helping to do your part – not just on Earth Day, but every day.

The History of Propane

First discovered in 1910 by chemist Walter Snelling, propane is a naturally occurring fossil fuel that is also produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Propane is a hydrocarbon consisting of three Carbon atoms and eight Hydrogen atoms (C3H8), and is odorless, colorless, and non-toxic.

As a chemist and explosives expert with the US Bureau of Mines, Snelling is credited with the development of an underwater detonator in 1907, greatly aiding the US in the construction of the Panama Canal. In 1910, after being contacted to investigate vapors coming from the gas tank of a Model T vehicle, Snelling was able to separate the components of the gasoline into liquid and vapor forms. One of these vapor forms was propane, which Snelling was able to compress into a liquid.

The Properties of Propane

As a liquid, propane is 270 times more compact than it is as a gas. In liquid form, propane is more easily transported and stored, and the propane industry has developed numerous methods to ensure its safe transport and use. In the United States, approximately 15 billion gallons of propane are used each year on average.

Propane is also referred to as liquefied petroleum gas, LP-gas, or LPG. Propane leakage does not result in a puddle, but rather as vapor; because the vapor dissipates, propane cannot be ingested like gasoline or alcohol fuels. Due to its naturally odorless, colorless state, a commercial odorant is added to propane to indicate leakage.

How Propane Burns

Very precise conditions must exist for the ignition of propane. In order to ignite, the propane-air mixture must contain between 2.2 and 9.6 percent propane vapor. The ignition source also needs to reach at least 940 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, gasoline, with its higher range of flammability, will ignite when the ignition source reaches at 430-500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Used by more than 12.6 million households in the US, propane heats homes, cooks meals, and powers many appliances. Commercially, propane is used in the agricultural, industrial, and transportation sectors to power equipment and provide energy for lighting and heat. Since its discovery over 100 years ago, propane has developed into a reliable energy source that has many applications.

You can find more information on propane in our resources section.

You’ve seen propane-powered commercial landscape and mowing equipment at the trade shows and wondered if it made sense for your company. Propane fuel has a number of advantages over traditional gasoline-powered equipment, helping your business to run more efficiently.

Commercial landscape and mowing companies using propane-powered equipment report no loss of power over traditionally-fueled engines as well as longer engine life and less maintenance required for their equipment. Employees operating the equipment benefit from a healthier work environment due to the lower emissions produced by a cleaner-burning fuel. What’s more, these lower emissions help your business to comply with government standards as well as provisions set forth in many university contracts. Propane allows you to cut the downtime created by refueling, with an easy switch-out of cylinders at the job site, rather than your crew making trips for gasoline. And because propane is an equipment-specific fuel, pilferage of fuel is greatly reduced.

A number of commercial lawn equipment manufacturers offer propane-powered equipment. These companies include:   Bad Boy, Bob-Cat, Cub Cadet, Dixie Chopper, Exmark, Ferris, Gravely, Husqvarna, Lehr, Scag, Snapper Pro, and Zipper.  In addition, the Propane Research & Education Council is has established the Propane Mower Incentive Program, which provides up to $1000 in incentive dollars for each new qualifying propane-fueled mower purchase, or $500 back for each qualifying mower conversion. There’s no doubt, there has never been a better time to convert to propane for commercial mowing and landscape.

The Lin-Gas alternative fuels specialists will make it easy for you to get started with propane. They will help you set up a fuel program that works for your business so you’re ready to roll off to a job rather than roll into a gas station. We make it easy. Call Lin-Gas today at 800-850-4380 or email us at

Lin-gas has the propane and equipment to get you cutting, so get started before the season arrives.

Every four years, the world’s attention turns toward the spectacle of the Olympic Games, and the eternal symbol of the Olympic flame burning for the duration of the Games.

Symbolizing Prometheus’ theft of fire from Zeus, the Olympic torch is one of the world’s best-known cultural icons. However, the use of the torch is a relatively new development, having made its debut in the 1928 Summer Games in Amsterdam.

Great spectacle and ceremony mark the journey of the torch from its ceremonial lighting at the ruins of the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece to its destination at the Olympic cauldron to open the Games. To light the torch, an actress portraying a high priestess holds an unlit torch above the center of a large, bowl-shaped mirror. The concentration of the sun’s rays at a central point in the mirror generates enough heat to light a flame on the torch. The flame is then passed to the first of the torchbearers in a relay toward the destination of the games, symbolizing peace and brotherhood for the duration of the competition.

Keeping the Olympic flame alit from torch to torch along the relay, however, relies in part on propane.


As the design of the torch has evolved over the years, a combination of technology and fuel sources have come together to produce a torch that preserves the Olympic flame along every step of its journey. The current design of the torch utilizes a double burner flame, with the larger, more visible flame outside surrounding a smaller internal flame that acts as a pilot light should the larger flame be blown out. This years’ torch is constructed primarily of aluminum and is weighted and counterbalanced to make it comfortable to carry. The fuel container within the torch handle for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games contains environmentally-friendly propane, produced in Russia. This fuel container holds enough propane to fuel the torch for approximately 15 minutes.

When Russian hockey great Vladislav Tretyak and pairs skater Idrina Rodnina touched the final torch in the relay to the Olympic cauldron at Sochi, the flame had traveled at the hands of nearly 14,000 torchbearers, spanning 100 days and over 40,000 miles. And thanks to propane, the flame never went out along its journey.

The polar vortex we’ve experienced recently brings with it a host of very real dangers, from frozen water pipes to exposure to dangerously frigid temperatures for people and animals alike. For the millions of Americans who heat and cook with propane, the current propane shortage makes the situation even more critical. Let’s take a look at the issue:

How is propane distributed?

Propane is a byproduct of both natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Each of these processes creates a supply of propane that is shipped from the point of production to bulk distribution terminals. From these terminals, propane is transported via pipeline, rail, and tanker truck to retail facilities, where it is distributed in both bulk and cylinder form.

Approximately 90% of the propane supply in the United States is produced domestically, while the remainder of the supply is imported largely from Canada and Mexico. Propane is transported via nearly 56,000 miles of pipeline and distributed at more than 6,000 retail locations.

Because propane is a compressed, flammable gas, there are governmental regulations regarding its transport. Among those regulations are limits on Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and amount of time drivers are allowed to be on the road within a 24-hour period. These regulations create safety on the nation’s highways, but they place limits on how swiftly propane can be delivered.

How did the shortage happen?

The shortage is the result of a series of events that, taken individually, would not have as great an impact on the supply. These events include the shutdown of a Midwest pipeline for maintenance, a wet corn harvest season that called for the use of propane to dry the harvested corn, increased competition for pipelines and rail cars from the oil and natural gas industries, and, of course, the extreme cold that has stretched far into the Deep South. All of these factors together have taxed the production and distribution of propane, leading to the current shortage.

Who is affected?

Over 12 million homes in the U.S. rely on propane for heating and cooking. In addition, agricultural operations use propane to maintain proper moisture levels in stored crops, power facilities and equipment, and provide warmth for livestock. Many commercial and industrial businesses as well as municipalities use propane to power fleets and equipment.

What next?

It’s hard to say how long the shortage will last, but some steps are in place to ease the pain a bit. Already the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued emergency orders in 10 Midwestern and 12 Northeastern states, permitting truck drivers to spend more time on the road within a 24-hour period in the quest to get propane supplies delivered further in a shorter amount of time. Many states are asking residents and businesses to conserve by lowering thermostats and limiting usage to only the most essential processes. Propane companies are limiting the size of deliveries and asking customers to only call once their supply reaches a certain limit. The one thing over which no one has control – the weather – will continue to influence usage and available supply for the foreseeable future.


The propane industry is working at all levels to seek relief from the current distribution and infrastructure problems facing propane customers and their fuel providers.

To allow for expedited delivery of propane, an exemption from the federal Hours of Service restrictions which limit the transportation of fuel cargoes has been implemented.   A total of 30 states so far this winter have issued Hours of Service relief.

The propane industry is working to ensure expedited shipments of propane by all modes: pipeline, rail and transport.  Efforts are underway with the U.S. Department of Energy to acknowledge that an emergency exists not only in our area, but throughout the nation, as consumers and businesses in dozens of states are faced with higher energy costs due to persistent cold weather.

Other energy suppliers have experienced high usage as well.  The U.S. Department of Energy reported that cold weather led to record-high natural gas storage withdrawals last week, the largest in the 20-year history of the survey and the second time this year the record has been broken.  In addition, the electricity grid is under strain as well.

To ensure that we are able to provide service in a timely manner, propane customers are asked to arrange for deliveries when their tanks read 30%. Allowing a tank to fall below that level increases the chances of running out.  By law, we must perform a gas line leak check any time the gas flow is interrupted.  This includes all out of gas situations, which can be an extra cost. Give us plenty of time to make a delivery and you can avoid that cost and delay.


The challenges in delivering propane for consumers during this prolonged period of cold weather started with a confluence of events beginning in October.

Abundant grain crops were being harvested throughout the Upper Midwest almost simultaneously this fall. Ordinarily, the harvest progresses in stages through the region but in late 2013, the harvests happened at the same time over a wide area. This was a large, wet crop which required massive amounts of propane in order to be dried prior to storage. That demand reduced propane inventories throughout the area. At the same time, infrastructure realignments inhibited the transportation of propane. The Cochin pipeline, which provided 40% of the product used by Minnesota suppliers, was shut down for repairs. This pushed those suppliers further out to load their supply. Canadian imports to the Northeast were also impaired by rail re-routing and other infrastructure impediments. In the Midwest, a new pipeline began moving propane from the central part of the country to new export terminals on the Gulf Coast where propane cargoes started shipping at nearly seven times the previous pace.

As the harvest season demand ended, a massive winter storm rolled across much of the country. Since then, demand for residential, commercial and agricultural heat has soared. The forecast continues for cold weather for much of our area.

Pass by any construction site and you’ll see many of the things you’d expect to see – heavy equipment, office trailers, and workers in hard hats. What you may not expect to see is propane in use.

Though most home consumers are familiar with propane as an energy source in the residential setting, it often comes as a surprise to learn that propane is an integral part of most construction and industrial sites. Propane is used to operate equipment, provide warmth for workers, and regulate air temperature and humidity for specific applications.

As a jobsite fuel, propane is one of the most economical choices available for industry. Propane tanks are easily portable, allowing for fuel sources to be moved as needed around a jobsite.  Because it is easier to store and transport than natural gas, and can be used both in liquid and gaseous form, propane is especially valuable on the job site.

The applications for propane are numerous. Construction professionals use propane not only to provide warmth for their employees, but to also create optimum temperatures for the application of drywall and plaster, to dry concrete, and to aid in the application of various adhesives.

Propane also powers a wide variety of equipment, from torches to tar kettles to compressors. Because it is a low-pollution fuel, propane can be used to safely power forklifts and skid steers within an enclosed area.

As a clean-burning, economical and safe energy source, propane is plentiful and reliable for all sorts of construction and industrial applications. A commercial propane supplier can help a business assess their needs for this alternative fuel and provide them with the necessary tanks as well as certain equipment. If you haven’t been using propane to power your job site, maybe it’s time to look into the possibilities that propane can provide.

Lin-Gas is pleased to announce the ability to view your account and conveniently pay your bill online – from the comfort of your own home!

With the addition of Lin-Gas Connect – our online Customer Web Service – we can now offer a hassle–free payment option which allows you to view your account balance and invoices on-line as well as contracts, including balance and gallons remaining, and past transactions. You can pay by Credit Card or Electronic draft from anywhere in the world using a standard web browser.

How does this work? Our system administrator will control access. You’ll simply register via a link on our website. First Time registrants will need a few pieces of information that can be found on your last paper bill (or simply call us and we can look up the information for you). After your first-time registration, you’ll have a username and password to login and pay future bills. Sessions time out after a defined period of inactivity and firewall security is in place to ensure there is no unauthorized access to your account information.

Customer Web Services is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for your convenience at We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you in the years to come.

A new video from the NPGA (National Propane Gas Association) explains that propane is a domestic fuel used in commercial mowers, forklifts, generators, vehicles and homes.