Portable Home Generator Questions

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My family is using minimum buried lines from New Hampshire out to Southern California and has been for many years. Not one of my five sisters not my brother has had a line broken by frost damage. My church operates summer camps from the mountains of North West Maryland to the sea coast of the Carolinas. None of those underground propane lines has ever had frost damage. No that is not a complete geographic sample of the US but I have not heard of buried gas lines being frost damaged. I don't see the problem.
-- Tom Horne
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Peter
There are a number of factual errors in your posting. Fuel gas lines do not have to be below the frost line. Under the miss utility laws of most states the liability is all with the person doing the digging who disturbs an existing line. We have had a number of propane installs done and a single central tank has always worked out cheaper in the long run. When we installed the generator at my firehouse the cost of the gas line was much cheaper than the additional cost of a diesel generator even though that was a natural gas and propane combination unit that needed a gas line run from the street as well as from the propane tank.
The point is that your own experience; or mine for that matter; will not, necessarily extrapolate well to another installation in another location.
-- Tom Horne
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PeterD wrote:

A fellow from Alaska got involved with a post about using similar fuels for heating and diesel engines along with jet fuel and kerosene for cross purposes. He said they brought fuel in by barge and didn't screw around with having too many categories of fuels. I wish one of our Alaskan friends would speak up and tell us all what will work.
TDD
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Especially if the free market forces were unrestrained. Gas stations could charge hurricane prices, and pay for the generator that way.
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Chas Hurst wrote:

Whenever there is some sort of disaster, entrepreneurs will load up trucks with all sorts of supplies to sell in the affected area but that was in the past. Now capitalists are charged with the crime of price gouging and often have their property confiscated by government types with guns. I thought it would be interesting to open a warehouse down in Florida well in advance of hurricane season and advertise things like batteries, generators, chain saws, etc at three times the going rate. No one would buy any until there was a disaster and when government types showed up to accuse you of price gouging, you can point out that your prices have been the same for months, what's the problem?
TDD
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Gas station owners don't make any money off the gas even when the power is on. I've heard on more than one occasion that only a few cents per gallon goes to the store owner. Out of that they have to pay a licensing fee to the oil company, upkeep on the pumps, etc...
Why the hell should they fork out money for a generator just so the big oil company can rake in more money?
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snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

So, if buy gas at a gas staiton that only sells gas and oil, doesn't have a store, and doesn't fix cars...., am I to assume that they are not making any money? Why else would they be in business?
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You have gas stations that only sell gas and oil? We sure don't have any of those here in NC. There is a profit margin on gas but it's generally pretty small. Store sales profit margin is 50% or higher.
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most of their money comes from the snacks and drinks. Seriously.
nate
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I've never seen a place that was 100% gas and oil only. Even the most basic gas station has a stand-up cooler with overpriced bottles of soda next to the cash register, and a rack of smokes.
Judging by the looks of those places, though, I would say you're making a pretty safe assumption. Dirty, run-down, old pumps, potholes in the lot... They're not making any money, or they'd make improvements.
Why do they stay in business? Sheer stupidity, possibly. Who knows? Lots of people will continue to forge ahead with a failing business long after it's clear that there's no future.
Some of the places are owned by the fuel distributors, though. I know of two here locally that have signs proclaiming that they're owned by such-and-such oil company... That's called double-dipping. Not only do they get the distributor's cut, they also get the gas station's cut.
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snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Same here. Pumps aren't the latest gee wiz built in advertising monsters, but the gas comes from the same place.
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I can't say as I know of any "gasoline only" retail. Every one I know, has mini mart as part of the operation.
According to some, they would be in busines "because others have a need".
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What he said.
One station in Clyde, NY. Was in the small town fishwrapper, years ago. The tanks needed to be repaired some how. The owner just quit selling gas, and focussed on quick food, beer, lottery tickets, etc. Other gas stations picked up the slack
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Lotsa former stations around here that now do repairs only, and tanks have been decommissioned in place or removed. In most cases, tanks were end-of-life, and state and/or insurance underwriter said they would have to be replaced with modern expen$ive plastic 2-layer tanks with the seepage alarms and such. There are probably now only 25% as many gas stations that there were in 1960 or so, nationwide. I think there are maybe 3-4 traditional gas and service bay stations left in the town, almost all having converted the service bays to retail space, and most of those eventually replacing the building entirely.
-- aem sends...
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Jay-T wrote:

Duh!
The legislature in Texas passed a law recently (in light of the highway confusion occasioned by people trying to flee Hurricane Rita), that gas stations on official evacuation routes had to top off their storage tanks to at least 80% capacity. The law made no mention of emergency power to run the pumps.
I've considered getting another generator, appropriate cables and tools, and just waiting for the next emergency. I'd then toot up to the biggest gas station that was just sitting there in the dark, the owner or manager weeping, and offering to power-up his business for, oh, say $50/hour.
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Now, that's the free market in action. Find the demand, meet the need. Charge appropriately.
You can expect the business owner to reply "Well, we've got all these expensive electronic pumps, and I don't want to risk them getting fried."
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Christopher A. Young
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He would make so much money charging extra and selling his tanks fast you could charge 500$ an hour and get it.
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wrote:

Many states/locals do require certain key stations to have backup power. Not all stations, but some.
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Natural gas is highly dependable in NY. A natural gas generator makes sense. Or as you say, you can use your own gasoline to power the generator.
The answer, in part. Is that the government and the anti-gouging laws. I've heard that gas stations make nearly no mark up on fuel. Which is why most of them sell coffee, candy, beer, etc. Supposing a gas station installs a generator, and has it wired in. How do they recover the cost of the generator? Well, the only way I know is to sell gasoline during a power cut. But, is that actually cost effective? I doubt it. Even if they have cars lined up, the once a year or so doesn't provide enough mark up to cover the generator. Unless they increase the price of gas during the power cut. But they "aren't allowed" to do that. So, the stations say never mind, there is no financial reason to do so.
Requiring them by force of law, to spend money on generators. Well, that sounds like more big government telling people to do what's not financially practical. If there was good financial reason to install generators, they would have done so already.
I'd rather repeal the price gouging laws, and restore some of the freedom to the "free market". If they want to install a generator and charge ten bucks a galon during power cuts, that's fine with me. Don't want to pay ten bucks a galon? Fine. Go to some other gas station that's cheaper.
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