Auto Gas v Camping Gas

Submitted: Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 10:55
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HI guys,

Just wondering if anyone knows the difference between Auto gas for 40c a litre and the camping gas to rifill your gas cylinders for over $2 a litre.

Cheers, ToNy!
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Reply By: Russel & Mary - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 11:15

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 11:15
I just rang Elgas and all "she" could tell me was that BBQ gas is Propane and Auto gas is a mixture of Propane and Butane and that they won't work switched around.That's all I found out, but I do recall that my footy coach said I couldn't drink on Friday nights. I think this needs further investigating. C'mon guys help us out. Rus
AnswerID: 114545

Reply By: Russel & Mary - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 11:40

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 11:40
I rang Kleenheat and they said you can't use auto gas but they couldn't furnish me with a reason ( I guess at $2/litre why would they say any different).

I then rang an auto gas conversion joint and he said you can use auto gas in the bbq but be careful how you go about it. He said try not to get caught. He said its ok., but I don't know how you would fill up at a servo without causing any scene. Rus
AnswerID: 114548

Reply By: Russel & Mary - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 12:12

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 12:12
After re-reading your question the answer is $1.60
AnswerID: 114559

Reply By: pjchris - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 12:29

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 12:29
The reason one gas is a mixture and one is a single mix has to do with both the performance requirements and the delivery method of the fuel.

In cars the gas is delivered to the engine as a liquid which is vapourised at the engine for combustion. The mix arrives as acombination of propane and butane.

In a BBQ the fuel delivery is based on evaporation. The liquid gas boils off to vapour in the bottle and then passes up the hoses to the burners. If you had a mix of different gas types in the bottle the gas with the lowest evaporation point would be used first and the heavier gas second. There would of course be some mixing but at the start of the bottle you would be burning almost pure propane and at the end of the bottle butane. This type of fuel delivery really requires only a single gas for reliable performance.

Also the exact mix of propane/butane in auto gas varies from season to season , time to time. I am also unsure of exactly what else may be in autogas that you probably don't want producing noxious fumes directly under food you are going to eat...

Having said all that I find it ridiculous that we pay $2 per litre to refill a BBQ bottles but 40-50cpl for auto gas... It's not that different....


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Follow Up By: GUPatrol - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 14:34

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 14:34

Gas for the bbq is not delivered as vapour!!

It is the same, both delivered as liquid (liquified gas) the car system converts it to gas at the regulator (usually under the bonnet), the bbq system at the regulator in line at the hose which usually sits close to the bottle.
Talking to a friend of mine who is a qualified gas fitter and happens to also have the license for car inspections on gas, he said the gas is the same, you just cannot fill the gas bottle at the pump because of the way they are filled/purged, with the bbq gas bottle they need to be bled manualy and the car one as a safety device etc.

The gas itself is the same.
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Follow Up By: Leroy - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 14:58

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 14:58
The gas in not the same. LPG is a mixture of Butane and Propane. BBQ gas is straight Propane.

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Follow Up By: pjchris - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 15:49

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 15:49
The regulator at the top of the bottle simple regulates does NOT convert the liquid to gas...

Take the regulator the valve...Gas comes out...Tip the bottle over. Depending on how full it is liquid will start to exit the bottle as it reaches the valve. this is one way (very crude, VERY DANGEROUS and must be done outside away from flames etc) to tell how full the bottle is... I saw this done once by a Scout Leader....I wouldn't really recommend it but it does illustrate the point that the gas delivery in a BBQ bottle is vapour from the top of the bottle...

Also as I pointed out (as did Leroy) your qualified gasfitter is plainly WRONG. The gases are DIFFERENT and it is ILLEGAL to fill a BBQ gas bottle from a car pump and ILLEGAL for a sevice station operator/refiller to decant from a Car LPG tanker into the 90kg+ bottle used to fill BBQ bottles.

See The Office of Gas Safety Victoria
Aust LPG Assoc Ltd.

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Follow Up By: GUPatrol - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 16:17

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 16:17
he never told me it was legal...
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Reply By: Charlie - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 15:54

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 15:54
Different gases but they can be used interchangably unless it really cold when straight butane will not evaporate.
Your gas bottle construction or filling mehod is a wholenother issue.
Regards Charlie
AnswerID: 114593

Reply By: Patrolman Pat - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 17:24

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 17:24

From the ALPGA website

"There are two grades of LPG commonly used in Australia. The traditional LPG used for heating and in barbecue bottles is propane. Domestic appliances and camping equipment are designed for this gas.

The LPG used for vehicles generally consists of a mixture of propane and butane. This "autogas" is dispensed at service stations and must not be used for domestic and leisure appliances. LPG has been used safely in Australia since before the Second World War. Australian Standards for LPG equipment and appliances and for storage and handling are among the world's best. We can all continue to benefit from the convenience of LPG provided we:
- respect LPG as a concentrated form of energy;
- take care of our LPG equipment; and
- read safety information and adhere to Australian Standards and Codes of Practice."

I can't find the relevant page at the moment but Auto gas and BBQ are often one and the same in remote areas and the regulations allow this to save two different trucks from having to deliver to remote areas. I'll post the link when I find it.
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Follow Up By: Patrolman Pat - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 17:27

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 17:27
Found it

Confused, I am.
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Reply By: Member - Geoff & Karen - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 17:52

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 17:52
Hi guys,
pjchris is correct, i have been in the gas industry for over 15 years both in the transportation and testing and filling of all sizes of bottles and tanks. Remember 1 litre of propane liquid = 270 litres of vapour. Inside all small gas bottles there is a small pipe that goes from the bleeder valve down towards the middle of the bottle this is to let liquid bleed of when the bottle is about 85% so the person that is filling the bottle knows when it is full. Specialist LPG filler depots fill most BBq bottles on a set of scales. The big bottles at service stations (190kg) that they fill your bottles with have a pipe all the way to the bottom of the bottle so liquid can be transfered when filling smaller bottles (9kgs)ect. Any bottle 45-190kgs that has a pipe inside that goes to the bottom of the bottle will have the top part of the bottle painted blue and will have " liquid withdrawal only" written on it.
Regards Geoff.
AnswerID: 114627

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 18:57

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 18:57
There have been other threads on this issue on the forum.

None dispute the fact that there is a difference between Propane and Butane, BUT consensus is that in many remote areas of the country, the gas used to fill both Propane and Butane tanks is one and the same.


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AnswerID: 114644

Reply By: 4X4Treker - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 21:35

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 21:35
Used to have GQ Patrol on LPG and I used to fill all my camping bottles from the gas tank on the Patrol, over the 16 years that I had the GQ I never had any problems with the gas equipment that I ran off of the Auto gas which included 3way caravan fridge, caravan stove, home BBQ and camping BBQ, gas light etc.
Yes the gas is different but I have have never noticed any difference in performance and never had any problems, just a major difference in the price and a huge saving on my part.

AnswerID: 114674

Follow Up By: pjchris - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 22:28

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 22:28
I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong but I think you'll find that butane has a higher energy ouput per litre than propane and burns slightly hotter.
This means that if jetted correctly an appliance should use less gas than it would on propane. In fact, many disposable cartridge gas stoves and lanterns do use butane and are set up for it.

Theoretically running butane in an appliance designe for propane could lead to premature failure of the burner (not designed for the extra heat) and the mixture will be ever so slightly wrong. Some BBQs have adjustable jets so could be altered but if you are using a mixture of propane/butane you couldn't get it exactly right over the life of the bottle.

In reality, the differences are quite minor and most quality appliances would last and run quite well on a mix. The only long term issue may be due to any other additives that may be in autogas not burning off properly due to a much lower combustion temperature and/or gumming up the jets/regulator as these were not designed to have these substances present. I don't know for sure if there are any other additives in autogas but there may be.

Bottom line: It can be done and may work perfectly, but is in fact illegal and possibly dangerous, particularly if you do the decanting yourself. I've done LPG fire safety and handling courses and the potential for disaster gives me the willies! I've decanted gas, and may do so again, but I always try to be exceptionally careful.

You CANNOT be too careful where any form of LPG is concerned. There was a big article in the Herald-Sun (Melbourne) today (6/6/2005) about a home mechanic who caused a LPG leak while working on his Ute in the garage, luckily went inside for a cuppa, and blew the whole house 15cm up of its foundations, knocked down half of its brick walls and threw the people inside up in trhe air and banged their heads on the ceiling! Luckily no-one was really injured, but the Ute is a write-off and the house (about $400,000 worth) will have to be demolished. I bet his Insurance company will think long and hard about paying up.

House lifted 15cm in gas explosion

We all have to make our own decisions as to wether what we do is worth the risk we take. In my opinion I'm not willing to risk my, or my family's, safety and will get someone else to fill my bottles with the correct gas, at a safe place.


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Follow Up By: 4X4Treker - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 23:21

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 23:21
I agree you cannot be too careful with LPG , that said if you use the correct connections and do all the decanting outside away from sparks open flames etc and have good knowledge of what you are doing there are no problems.
I have seen some so called trained service station attendants who are supposed to know what they are doing filling bottles and I have left the area quick smart, just unbelievably dangerous.
As was mentioned earlier by others, go into remote areas and all the gas is the same (Auto Gas) as it is too costly to transport the two different gas types. I have seen it first hand the truck first filled the Auto Gas tank at the service station and promptly filled up the decanting bottle on the other side of the same service station from the same truck and hose, there aren,t two separate tanks in LPG tankers. So much for the legal bullbleepthat you get fed, its just a total rip off.

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Follow Up By: pjchris - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 23:32

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 23:32
Agreed, some service station attendants are there own worst enemies..

Interestingly in the remote area you mention where autogas and bbq lpg are the same they deliver pure propane not the propane/butane mix we get in the city.


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Reply By: Swine Hunter - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 05:29

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 05:29
Hi All,

I have a tight arsed mate (qualified automotive gas fitter) who had a hose made up for his 9kg BBQ bottle to connect to the LPG pump at servo's so that he could save on proper BBQ gas.

There are 2 things I have noticed having BBQ at his place:
1) the fumes emitted from burning LPG in the BBQ is repugnent and smells very toxic
2) The food cooked on his BBQ tastes like sheeeet

I no longer eat BBQ at his place, as a few $$ isn't worth the health issues that may result from LPG cooked food in my opinion.

I also believe that the BBQ bottle is dangerous to fill using his method as it has no AFL valve where as automotive LPG tanks do.
AnswerID: 114709

Follow Up By: Gerhardp1 - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 22:17

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 22:17
I agree with you pig shooter.

I have smelt the putrid smell of Auto LPG being used in a BBQ and it makes you sick. I have never smelt a sickening smell from either a Propane cooker or a Butane cooker when used with the proper Gas.

Probably in the outback where they fill both bulk tanks from the one tanker delivery, they don't put the putrid stink additive in at all.

I can't believe that people actually worry about the cost of gas for a BBQ - I know my wealth has not been affected by this but my health probably is better!

FollowupID: 370645

Reply By: shaggy - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 13:02

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 13:02
you are comparing cents per litre for LPG, and $2 per litre for BBG gas. This is incorrect. You will find the volume of gas depends on temperature and supply pressure. This is called Boyle's Law in physics and chemistry. PV=nRT etc
Anyway, put simply, the BBQ gas that you get when you fill a 9kg bbq bottle is exactly that. 9kg of gas, this is equivalent to approx 17.6 Litres of propane.
Another thing, you can put propane gas in your LPG car system and get much better running and fuel efficiency. The trouble is that it is more difficult to separate propane from butane, and hence costs more. It is less work to sell butane/propane mix for lpg, as you dont need high purity to burn in an engine, and make wheels turn...

AnswerID: 114746

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