<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Buying Propane in Mexico
NOTE: While this is designated as an ARCHIVE FILE, it is retained despite the date of first publication because it offers information of continuing current interest and/or for its historical perspective. Please be guided accordingly.




By David Eidell

Mexico actually has Butane rather than Propane. It burns the same with no adjustments necessary to your heater, or stove. Bulk plants are located outside the city limits (sometimes miles away) always along side a main highway. Bulk trucks (delivery trucks with a pump and meter) are
becoming more common, but usually 25 gallon cylinders are hauled around on the back of flatbed trucks. Huge tanker trucks haul the butane down from the USA, where it is purchased to refill the bulk plants.

Motor Fuel Costs More

Bulk plants are allowed to charge more for Butane used as motor fuel. The surcharge is about 20% but it varies widely from place to place. If they sell me fuel at the domestic use rate, I don't blink an eye, and pocket the difference. Bulk trucks will fill up your motor fuel tank, and they usually split the difference between motor fuel and domestic fuel prices. This is usually done "around the corner".

Some Plants Don't Have Meters

Mexico is still not used to odd size gas tanks. At the bulk plant, scales are used to measure sales in Kilograms. If your tank is portable then weight added to it, will be charged as gas. Tanks mounted in vehicles present an unknown as far as quantities are concerned; they can't weigh the tank. Clean off the specification tag that's glued onto your tank. It'll have the gas capacity (usually water capacity) which the attendent will refer to for determining the quantity needed to fill it. Ask for a presupuesto (estimmate), of liters needed to fill your tank (four liters are 105% of 1 gallon). Most employees are honest but many are not skilled in math. It's best to establish your tank capacity
before the time comes to argue with the attendent.

Beware of Overfilling The Tank

If your tank is inadventently overfilled (white vapor escapes from your 10% valve when cracked), you'll need to bleed the tank until clear vapor replaces the white. Do this at the plant, but over to one side where you won't block other customers.

No Fires Permitted

Needless to say, a fire in a gas plant is very dangerous. Employees are cavalier with dispensing hoses, sometimes allowing them to shoot gallons of fuel around while depressuring hoses and lines. Before you enter the yard SHUT OFF THE GAS VALVES TO YOUR HOT WATER HEATER, TO YOUR REFRIGERATOR AND THE MAIN TANK VALVES. Don't restart the appliances until after you have fueled up and until you have exited the bulk plant.

Pesos Work Better than Dollars

I always use pesos when buying LPG fuel or gasoline. It's a lot easier to calculate.

Butane Sold by Weight

When sold by the kilogram, two Kilograms of gas equal one gallon of liquid and vapor.

Butane Stops Working Below 30 Degrees

Don't try to haul a full load of Butane back to your home if you live in
cold country. It won't flow in sub freezing temperatures. Half a tank
mixture of Propane and Butane will work OK down to zero farenheit.