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LPG, Propane Gas: Are They The Same?

LPG, Propane Gas: Are They The Same?—Here is What You Should Know

For many years, many people talked about the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in homes, but then, suddenly, the tide shifted and propane gas became more popular.

Yet, till now many people don’t really know the difference between LPG and propane gas but just follow the trend.

A better understanding of these two will help people make more informed choices by understanding the intricate nature of the gas.

Gas burning

But first what is LPG?

LPG is known by several names like gas bottles, BBQ gas or autogas, but is popularly referred to as liquefied petroleum gas which is the full name for the acronym LPG.

It is usually used to describe a family of hydrocarbons like butane, propane and isobutane. Propane is also a hydrocarbon, which makes it confusing at times to differentiate the two.

Hence, in order to answer the question, “Are propane and LPG the same,” we have to look deeper into the nature of LPG and propane.

The nature of LPG

Liquefied petroleum gas can be described under flammable hydrocarbons like propane and butane that come from petroleum refining and natural gas processing.

These petroleum gases are then liquefied under pressure and used as fuel. Butane and propane have a lot of similarities, and they both have similar chemical formulas. 

There are different ways to create LPGs. In some countries, just propane is used. Sometimes, just butane is used, while other times, a mixture of both is used.

This mixture is usually called autogas, which is filled in LPG powered vehicles. The LPG is liquid under pressure which is why it is called gas bottle. When it is about to be used, it turns into vapor.

Various Uses of LPG

The uses of LPG are numerous. It is majorly used in homes, for vehicles, and for businesses. It is also used during recreational times like for camping, and also used in hot air balloons.

Liquified petroleum gas is used in business with ovens, boilers and kilns. Apart from these, it is used on a larger scale to produce electricity, and for cars as autogas.

Propane vs Butane

In establishing the difference between propane and LPG, we will have to determine the difference between other flammable hydrocarbons like butane and propane.

A major difference between both of them, even though they are both gotten from natural gas processing, is that butane is more popularly used for fuel and as a refrigerant whereas propane is used for cooking, water heating, and space heating. 

Propane has a lower boiling point, which means that in colder climates the propane will continue to vaporize, which makes it ideal for areas that are cold.

Butane, when stored, exerts lower pressure than propane, making LPG suitable for indoor use. However, the fact that LPG can be propane, butane or a mixture of both gives LPG a wider usage and capacity.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, a factor that determines if LPG and propane are the same is the country you are in. In some countries like Australia, LPG is composed of propane.

Therefore, in that context, LPG can be said to be propane. So propane can be LPG, but LPG is not always propane, due to the fact that LPG could be butane or any other hydrocarbon.

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