Propane Exchange vs. Refill: Myth Busted

Jan 18, 2023

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You’re all moved into your new place and you want to have a cookout to celebrate. You go outside to fire up your grill and realize you need propane. Should you take it to the local exchange location or find a place to refill your tank? Below we “bust” some of the most common myths about propane tank exchange and discover that refilling a propane tank is the best bang for your buck.

Propane Refill CheaperMYTH: Exchange is cheaper than refill.

Some people may believe that grabbing a propane tank from an exchange cage at their local grocery store or gas station is the less expensive option. In fact, some people may not even know that U-Haul, as well as other refill companies, can refill their propane tank.

Myth Busted: A pretty standard average when exchanging a propane tank is about $5.75 per gallon. Most U-Haul locations (excluding Hawaii) charge less than $3.99 a gallon. It’s a clear choice.

MYTH: An exchanged tank contains as much propane as a refilled one.

Read the fine print. When you exchange a propane tank, you are only guaranteed 15 pounds of propane per 20 pound tank. That means you are being shorted the amount of propane that the tank can actually hold. Not only are customers paying more to exchange, they are getting less propane than if they refilled their tank.

Myth Busted: Refill locations fill up and top off customers’ propane tanks—meaning they get the most propane their tank can safely hold. That extra 25 percent equals about four more hours of grilling time.

MYTH: Exchange is quicker than refill.

Anyone who has exchanged a propane tank before knows that it’s not as simple as dropping off your tank and grabbing a new one. You still have to go inside the location, wait in line behind other customers, and then wait for an attendant to unlock the propane tank cage.

Myth Busted: Refilling a propane tank is quick and convenient. If you are refilling at a U-Haul location, you don’t even need to go inside. Simply pull up and someone will meet you outside. They even have a credit card device for payment at the pump.

MYTH: No propane is lost when you exchange a tank.

Unless it’s an oversight, most people don’t let their propane tank completely run empty. This means that exchange customers have to guess when their tank is almost empty. This leads to the loss of propane when a tank is exchanged. On the other hand, customers may not even know that their tank is full if they haven’t used it in a while.

Myth Busted: Unless the propane tank is completely empty, customers will lose propane when they exchange their tank. And when they are already paying more money for less propane, losing any amount of propane just adds insult to injury.

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MYTH: All propane refill locations are the same.

Not all refill stations are created equal. Many locations have a minimum fill charge. Meaning they are going to charge a minimum amount, whether or not they actually dispense that much propane.

Myth Busted: Make sure you do your research before choosing a location to refill your propane tanks. There are locations, U-Haul included, that do not have a minimum fill charge. You are only charged for the propane dispensed.

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