While waiting for my wife outside a store yesterday, I passed the time
by reading the information on the "Blue Rhino" propane tank exchange
setup. No surprises until I got to the bottom and discovered that the
"Full" tanks contain only 15lb of propane. I thought that the "regular"
small propane tanks held 20lb.
How many people are thinking that they are getting 20lb (as they would
if they took their own tanks to a refilling station) for a good price
but getting only 15lb?
There's a class-action lawsuit against them over this issue. AmeriGas
recently settled a class-action lawsuit over a similar claim:
A federal judge approved a $10 million settlement against a company
accused of putting too little propane in its containers.
The settlement in the multidistrict litigation ended multiple cases
filed against AmeriGas Propane Inc., AmeriGas Propane LP and AmeriGas
The plaintiffs alleged that the cylinders -- the type used for grills
-- contained 15 pounds instead of the 17 pounds of the gas AmeriGas
previously provided. The settlement covers consumers who bought or
exchanged the cylinders between June 15, 2005, and Nov. 30, 2009.
Those with proofs of purchase can recover $5 for each propane tank
they purchased or exchanged during the class period, up to $75. Those
without proofs of purchase can recover $5.
The settlement also subjects AmeriGas to a three-year injunction,
during which the company must take measures to prominently inform
consumers of the actual net weight of propane in its tanks and to
refrain from marketing those tanks as "full."
... The objectors had urged the judge to consider that, under federal
and state laws and regulations, the cylinders should hold 20 pounds of
propane, not the 17 pounds agreed to in the settlement. The objectors'
argument would have vastly expanded the amount owed by AmeriGas.
Both AmeriGas and the other plaintiffs disputed the argument, saying
the objectors had conflated the maximum amount a cylinder could hold
with the amount with which it should safely be filled. Both parties
also said no law requires cylinders to be filled with 20 pounds of
Fenner overruled the objectors' arguments in his Oct. 4 order.
...The settlement did not affect a related series of lawsuit against
Ferrellgas, the supplier of Blue Rhino propane. Bryan Cave is
Agreed. Although I do have exchange facilities near me, I take mine to my
local propane supplier, and get a MUCH better price. Why anyone would pay
the rates at the exchange places is beyond me, especially when there are
propane dealers very close by.
There are areas - particularly urban ones - where one's options for
getting propane are very limited. The tank exchange may be all that's
I live in a city where no one heats with propane, so there are no
large-scale distributors of it. No gas stations that sell it - except
for a few who offer the tank exchanges. I'm lucky enough to have in my
vicinity a small hardware store that fills tanks, and also an RV
repair shop that fills tanks - but in most of the city, the only
option is a tank exchange. If all you're doing with the tank is using
it for a gas grill or patio heater, I can see where it's not going to
be a big enough deal to bother driving a distance to get a tank
filled. Just grab one from the exchange and be done with it.
I forgot to mention that the hardware store charges a flat fee per
fill, per tank. If you bring in a partially-filled tank you pay the
same as if the tank were empty. The RV shop, on the other hand,
charges for only the amount of propane that is pumped into the tank.
Uh, you have one that is almost empty, and you want to cook something that
will take three hours ...............
You're going camping, and want to just take a full tank ..................
You don't want to make an extra trip, so you round the low ones up and have
them all filled ..........................
Then only charge you for what you put in them, so what's the difference
Around us, many of the U-Haul truck rental places sell propane (not an
exchange; they fill your tank). It's metered (sold per pound or
gallon; I can't remember), so you don't lose out if the tank isn't
empty. The total price for a full tank is generally less than any
exchange price I've seen.
I thought about that, too. The guy from the gas company didn't think it was a
good idea, even though they'd be getting the additional rental. I thought
about relocating the existing tank to the other side (run the trench the other
way ;) where it would be easier to fill. He didn't think that was necessary
either. We'll likely get him back out to give us a better estimate and talk
it over again.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.