Is Propane a Liquid or a Gas?

Written on: May 27, 2024

The answer is part of what makes it so convenient and versatile.

propane New Haven County, CT Some homeowners are reasonably perplexed about whether propane is a liquid or a gas. After all, you might have heard it referred to as “liquid propane” or “liquid petroleum gas,” but when you see it used in your furnace’s burner, a grill or a cooking range, it can seem indistinguishable from natural gas.

The team at Seymour Oil & Propane knows this unique and versatile fuel inside and out. Please allow us to give you a breakdown of propane’s physical properties and what they mean for how you use it at your home.

Gas or Liquid?

Propane can be either a liquid or a gas, depending on its temperature and the amount of pressure on it. When your propane is inside a cylinder, a home propane tank, a storage facility or a delivery truck, it’s in a compressed container and exists in a liquid state.

Whenever one of your propane products needs to use the fuel, pressure is relieved, and propane reverts to its gaseous state. This transformation allows it to travel to the product’s gas burner and ignite.

Where Propane Comes From

Over 70% of propane in the U.S. comes from natural gas production. It comes out of the same wells as natural gas and is a heavier hydrocarbon. Propane is extracted and repackaged, as are other hydrocarbons like ethane and butane. Another source of propane is oil refining. In that process, it is a lighter hydrocarbon than diesel and gasoline. Virtually all the propane used in our country is domestically produced. Indeed, the U.S. is a net exporter of propane!

In the coming years, you can expect to hear more and more about renewable propane gas. This fuel is molecularly identical to conventional propane (so no equipment modifications are necessary). However, it’s made using renewable and organic feedstocks like used cooking grease, animal fats, plant oils, woody biomass and municipal waste. The resulting fuel has a significantly lower carbon intensity (CI) than conventional propane’s already low CI. While renewable propane isn’t widely used in residential areas yet, its production footprint grows each year.

Propane vs. Natural Gas

You might ask how natural gas and propane differ. While they are used in many of the same home comfort systems and appliances, they have considerable differences:

  • Natural gas is primarily composed of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide when trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 20-year period. Propane contains no methane.
  • Natural gas is lighter than air and rises, whereas propane is heavier than air and tends to settle.
  • Propane produces more than twice the heat per cubic foot as natural gas.

Seymour Oil & Propane — We Know Propane!

If you need a reliable propane delivery company in New Haven County or elsewhere in our western Connecticut service region, you can trust the team at Seymour Oil & Propane. We offer FREE automatic delivery to all propane customers. Not only does this service free you from needing to check your tank gauge or worry about an unexpected propane run-out, but it also comes with a discount on your fuel!

Forget about propane run-outs with the most reliable fuel company in the region. Join our family of happy customers.