What is LPG? Gas Bottle Sizes, Prices & Uses

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LPG Gas is an efficient, portable, and clean-burning energy, but is it for you? How long does an LPG gas bottle last? What are the differences between LPG and natural gas? Read on to learn this and more in this complete guide to LPG gas in Australia.

What is LPG Gas?

LPG is a flammable liquid that in Australia primarily consists of propane gas. LPG is a common substitute for natural gas, and the letters LPG mean Liquefied Petroleum Gas.

Because LPG burns much hotter and quicker than other options, it is ideally suited for traditional storage hot water systems that heat and store hot water or instantaneous hot water systems that only heat water when you need it.

Where Does LPG Gas Come From? LPG gas is a byproduct of extracting and refining natural gas and crude oil. LPG is more climate-friendly than other types of fossil fuels, but it still releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and is non-renewable.

LPG gas is a byproduct of the refining process of natural gas and burns much hotter and quicker than other options.

LPG is stored as a liquid, which makes it denser than natural gas. This makes LPG ideal for transporting long distances and to rural areas.

LPG’s portability also makes it a cost-effective option for people that are not connected to a natural gas main pipeline as it is easily transported to individuals regardless of where they live, rural or urban.

LPG was deregulated in Australia in the year 1991, one of the first, predating the deregulation under the National Electricity Market (NEM) by seven years in 1998.

LPG gas is also not eligible for the DER register even if you use LPG gas generators for local electricity generation.

What Is LPG Used For?

LPG is commonly used for heating the following:

  • LPG outdoor barbecues
  • LPG cooktops
  • LPG camper stoves
  • LPG hot water system
  • LPG gas heaters

As you have seen above, LPG is also used in rural areas as a substitute for natural gas if there aren't any gas mains.

Many people use LPG gas vs natural gas because LPG is efficient, portable, and relatively cleaner than other fossil fuels. LPG gas burns consistently and is much hotter than natural gas, meaning you use less for similar results which can also save you money in the long run.

LPG vs Natural Gas

One of the main differences between LPG and natural gas is that LPG is made up solely of propane and natural gas is made of a wide variety of gases but is mostly methane.

Another important difference between LPG and natural gas is their method of distribution. LPG comes in pressurized gas bottles in liquid form, and natural gas is directly distributed through pipelines in a gas form.

LPG Gas and Smart Meters Smart meters are available for both LPG gas and natural gas. Origin Energy also offers LPG gas that is directly piped into your home using a smart meter.

LPG’s liquid form makes it more energy-dense than natural gas, and more efficient.

Availability of Natural Gas In Your Area The availability of natural gas depends on where you live. Contact your local natural gas providers and check if natural gas is available to you.

If your home or building is not connected to a natural gas pipeline, we recommend looking into ordering LPG.

While different appliances and systems in your home are capable of using either LPG or natural gas, most providers will only allow you to use one option. Therefore, it is important to confirm you are fitted for the type of gas you plan to use.

To help you decide which option is better for you, below we have created a comparison table for natural gas and LPG gas.

Comparison of LPG and Natural Gas
LPG GasNatural Gas
LPG gas is cheaper for low/moderate usersNatural gas is cheaper for high volume users
LPG gas allows you to only pay for what you useNatural gas is less hazardous because of gas form quickly dissipates
LGP gas' liquid form allows gas bottles to have more energy density and efficiencyNatural gas 'Daily Supply Charge' fee can add hundreds of dollars a year in extra cost

Keep in mind that, unlike natural gas, LPG bottled gas is outside the scope and protection of your local ombudsman.

LPG Gas Bottle Sizes & Format

LPG gas bottle sizes vary, but LPG bottles can be as small as 3.7kg or up to 210kg in size.

Below is a table that lists the different LPG gas bottle capacities, weights, and dimensions:

LPG Gas Bottle Sizes in Australia
Dimensions and UnitsLPG Gas Capacity (Lt)LPG Gas Bottle Height (cm)LPG Gas Bottle Diameter (cm)LPG Gas Bottle Empty Weight (kg)
Small (5kg)1140266.5
Small (9kg)2350319.5
Medium (18kg) Used for Forklifts4481.53120-22
Large (45kg)10812437.538
Large (90 kg)20013450.870
LPG Gas Bottle Sizes

Some LPG gas bottles sizes may need special transportation conditions which can increase the overall costs. Below we cover what factors influence the cost of LPG.

How Much Does an LPG Bottle Cost?

A 45kg LPG gas bottle costs between $120 - $160 per bottle. However, yearly rental costs can add another $40 - $50 per year to the cost of your LPG.

The price of an LPG gas bottle depends on several factors such as:

  • The size of the gas bottle
  • The price of the fuel

You can find smaller 4kg gas bottles for around $39.89 at stores like Bunnings’ or petrol stations. These bottles are typically used for barbecues or outdoor heaters. Larger 8-9kg gas bottles typically cost between $35 - $80.

Keep in mind that you can refill smaller LPG gas bottles sizes at LPG gas refill locations near you for much cheaper.

How Long Will A 45kg Gas Bottle Last? A 45kg LPG gas bottle can be roughly expected to serve a family of four in a three-bedroom house roughly 4-6 weeks before needing to be replaced. This time can be shortened or extended depending on how often you use your gas bottle.

LPG gas suppliers distribute 45kg LPG gas bottles. Once your bottle has run out, you will need to call the supplier to have it replaced. In most cases, your LPG gas supplier or distributor will supply you with two 45kg gas bottles so you will have a supply even if you run out.

Bottled Gas Rebate NSW The NSW Gas Rebate helps households who use natural or LPG gas for basic needs cover their gas costs. If you use LPG gas or are an on supply customer you can download the nsw gas rebate application form here to apply. And if you'd like to learn more or have questions about the NSW Gase Rebate you can read our NSW rebate guide.

Compared to most energy sources which differs by state, LPG gas does not have a reference price. Instead, LPG gas prices are an internationally set benchmark price set by LPG gas importers affecting overall costs.

Is LPG Gas Cheaper Than Mains Gas?

LPG gas tends to be cheaper than natural gas if you use low to moderate amounts of gas. LPG has more energy per unit than natural gas, therefore more natural gas is needed to achieve results similar to LPG. In this way, LPG can end up being cheaper than mains gas in the long run as it's more efficient.

Here are some examples of low to moderate gas use where LPG is likely to be cheaper:

  • BBQ
  • Outdoor heater
  • Short showers
  • Use cold water
  • Do not cook often or don’t have a gas stove

Natural gas also requires a ‘daily supply charge’ for just connecting to the gas network. With LPG gas you only pay for gas when you need it, and your gas supply is separate from the gas network. This means that if you are a low-to-moderate user of gas LPG comes out to be cheaper than natural gas.

Is LPG Right for My Home?

LPG could be a great option for your home depending on where you are located, your gas usage, and the prices available to you.

For example, LPG gas is a great option if you live in a rural area or don’t have access to natural gas mains. LPG is a great substitute for natural gas as its denser and more efficient than natural gas. Therefore you will still have similar results as with natural gas but will likely use less overall.

If you are looking to save money, LPG gas could be a good choice for your home as it's come out cheaper when you use a low to moderate amount of gas per day.

If you have natural gas at your home, you may also consider LPG for outdoor use on BBQs or outdoor heating.

If you are still looking for information on looking to set up LPG gas in your home or looking to move and are looking to see if LPG gas would be a realistic option for your home, Our Selectra agents can connect you with one of several LPG gas suppliers. Call for more information.

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