February Energy News

Feb 05, 2024

Propane Delivery

September 2023.

As you could probably tell if you read some of my past newsletters, I love winter. And it’s not just because I’m in the propane business. As I was slow roasting in a gun truck in Iraq in July of 2006, I had an epiphany. I decided at that moment that I was going to buy a snowmobile and I would never complain about the cold again. Here we are almost 18 years later and I have 3 snowmobiles and I’ve never complained about the cold. Maybe I had grounds to break that trend with the ridiculously cold weather we had a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t give in to the temptation. 

The cold temperatures created challenges of its own. One of the challenges was to keep diesel fuel flowing in vehicles. Wax crystals begin to form in #2 diesel at 10-15 degrees F, otherwise known as the cloud point. This can plug fuel filters and leave you stranded. If you’ve wondered why there can be such a difference in diesel prices at gas stations, there’s a good reason. If you want to have the lowest price, you sell #2 diesel with no additives, otherwise known as fuel oil. The next level may have a diesel additive that lowers the cloud point. That’s great but when you get subzero temperatures you really need to mix your #2 diesel with some #1 diesel. 

At our Mt. Horeb convenience store, for example, we use a seasonally enhanced product with premium diesel additives and 30% #1 diesel fuel, which works well down to about 10 degrees below zero. For super cold temps, we can bring in the big guns. Wintermaster is 70% #1 and has a cloud point of 30 degrees below zero. Can we have the lowest prices with products like that? Absolutely not, but your diesel engine will start, run and not leave you stranded. 

Another challenge created by the cold weather was the increase in propane consumption. Our drivers did a great job of keeping up and they put in some long hours to do so. Very cold temps mixed with a couple of snow days made things very difficult for them and it took a week for us to get caught up completely. Every cold snap is a learning experience and we’re implementing a couple of changes to better prepare us for the next one. 

On a personal note, one of the things I learned this year is that if you have cleats on your boots, they work great in ice and snow to prevent falls. However, if you go from the ice and snow to a concrete floor, it’s only a matter of time before you end up on the deck. That happened to me twice before I learned to take them off on concrete. I swear, sometimes I’m as dumb as a bag of hammers. 

Thank you if you were able to clear a path to the propane tank for our drivers. It really makes a difference not to have to struggle through thigh-high snow drifts. It’s not a very pleasant experience, especially with a 60 lb. nozzle and hose draped over your shoulder. 

One final comment on diesel fuel. Energy markets are very volatile at the moment. If you have your diesel delivered to you and would like to lock in your price, give us a call and see what we have to offer.  
If you dislike winter as much as I love it, here’s some good news. February is typically the last month where the winter struggle is real. After February, spring is just around the corner. Turn that frown upside down because you’re almost to the finish line. Let’s see if that hairy little beast is correct in his spring prediction on Groundhog Day. 

Thank you for your business.    

Tim Lease

Division Manager

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