Propane 101: What’s It Made Of?

We explain where propane comes from and what’s in it

propane company maryland Households and businesses in Prince Frederick, MD, and the many communities we serve have quite a few energy choices. And a steadily growing number are choosing efficient, clean-burning propane gas for heating, hot water generation, and major appliances.

But what is propane made of, and how is it different from other fuels? At Q-Dog, we have the experience and know-how to answer all your questions about propane.

Is propane the same as natural gas?

This is a frequent point of confusion. Propane and natural gas are part of the same production pipeline and function similarly in gas-fired equipment. They’re even scented to have the same sulfurous odor. But they are distinctly different fuels.

Propane is a denser fuel than natural gas, which is primarily composed of methane. (Propane is methane-free.) Utility pipes must be used to deliver natural gas directly into your home. Unfortunately, natural gas is out of the question if you’re not in an area with access to a utility.

Propane travels farther and easier because it can be compressed into a liquid form. On trucks and train cars and in cylinders and stationary propane tanks, propane is a liquid. When pressure is relieved, the propane becomes gas for use in your heating equipment and appliances.

Also worth noting: propane produces more than double the heat per cubic foot as natural gas.

What is propane made of?

Almost all propane is a co-product of natural gas extraction and crude oil refining.

Propane is primarily derived from natural gas production. Natural gas wells also extract fuels like ethane, butane, isobutane and pentane. Propane is the largest co-product of this process. It’s separated to prevent condensation buildup in pipelines, then sold separately.

Some propane comes from the stabilization phase of oil refining. During this process, heavier hydrocarbons settle at the bottom while lighter ones rise. Propane is a lighter hydrocarbon and can be separated easily.

About 90 percent of America’s propane is produced domestically. This means that the U.S. has an abundant supply of the fuel, and its price is more stable than many other energy sources.

Is propane green?

Absolutely. Propane is not a greenhouse gas. It emits minimal carbon dioxide in use. It contains no methane and virtually no particulate matter, a known carcinogen.

And propane is becoming even greener with the advent of renewable propane. Renewable propane is chemically identical to conventional propane, but it’s made using organic and recycled ingredients. For the most part, these feedstocks are considered waste. They include:

  • animal oils
  • vegetable oil
  • biomass
  • plant matter

Renewable propane’s production process has an extremely low carbon intensity (CI), so the fuel is eco-friendly. A Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) study determined that renewable propane has less than half the CI of conventional propane — and roughly one-fifth the CI of grid electricity!

Renewable propane isn’t widely used yet, but its production footprint is growing. Soon, it will reliably, affordably, and sustainably fuel homes, businesses, and even vehicles on the highway!

The team at Q-Dog proudly provides dependable propane delivery service throughout Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Southern Anne Arundel, and Southern Prince George’s counties. Contact us today to become a customer.

What Is Diesel Fuel?

The differences between diesel, gasoline and heating oil

diesel fuel supplier maryland Ever since our founding in 1945, Q-Dog has been the most trusted fuel company in Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, southern Anne Arundel, and southern Prince George’s counties. We work with commercial customers to create customized diesel delivery plans, so they don’t need to line up at a service station.

Diesel is an incredibly versatile fuel with many uses on and off the road. Let’s break down exactly what diesel is, how it functions, and what makes it different from other fuels.

What is diesel, and how is it used?

Diesel is the standard term for distillate fuel oil used in compression ignition engines. Most diesel comes from crude oil, just like gasoline, though the two are not interchangeable. Some diesel also comes from renewable biomass.

Diesel is combustible but not flammable. You can’t ignite it by simply applying a flame or spark. It requires pressure and heat to ignite. There are essentially two kinds of diesel.

  • Off-road diesel is dyed red. Farming equipment, construction equipment and generators use it. It isn’t subject to the same taxes as road diesel, so you can receive a fine for using it in an on-road vehicle.
  • On-road diesel is undyed and sold at gas pumps. It’s subject to taxes that can often be quite high.

Chemically, on-road and off-road diesel are effectively the same product. All diesel sold in the U.S. today is low-sulfur. This originates from a 2006 Environmental Protection Agency regulation that reduced harmful emissions.

How is diesel different from gasoline?

To begin, diesel is denser than gasoline. It does not evaporate in open air like gas does. It also has a much longer shelf life than gasoline, which contains additives that separate and break down more quickly.

One of the most significant differences between diesel and gasoline is their performance in engines. Gasoline does not require the same amount of pressure to combust. Air and a spark in your car’s engine will do the trick. Conversely, diesel powers combustion engines, which apply heat and pressure to cause diesel to explode. Diesel combustion produces 10 to 20 percent more energy than gasoline combustion. Diesel engines last longer and have better mileage.

How is diesel different from heating oil?

Petroleum-based home heating oil and off-road diesel are essentially the same. An oil-fired heating system needs to heat this fuel and mix it with air as a fine spray to produce a flame. It’s worth noting that today’s heating oil is often a blend of low-sulfur petroleum and renewable biodiesel, which is better for the environment.

Q-Dog — Over 75 years of dependable diesel delivery

If you have a business, farm, worksite, vehicle fleet or municipal building that depends on diesel, we want to be your go-to fuel partner. We offer reliable on-site delivery from a team of the most professional, efficient drivers in the business. In every aspect of our fuel delivery, we guarantee promises kept.

Reach out to the Q-Dog team to start receiving high-quality diesel.

What Does Propane Cost Per Gallon?

cost of propane marylandIt doesn’t matter whether you’re walking down the grocery aisle, filling up your tank at the gas station or opening up your electric bill. Everything has gotten more expensive this year.

Americans are facing lingering supply chain issues, 40-year-high inflation, and the economic effects of global conflicts. At Q-Dog, we’re as concerned about price increases as you are. So, we want to discuss the price of propane, what factors affect it, and how we can help you stabilize your propane budget in the coming months.

What’s the cost of propane per gallon?

Like all fuels, propane’s price fluctuates. Nationally, it’s been falling in the $2 to $4 per gallon range recently. For Q-Dog’s customers in Prince Frederick and surrounding counties in Maryland, we post the per-gallon rate on our propane delivery page.

Propane customers can take some comfort that propane’s price is more stable than many other fuels because it is domestically made. For the most part, all the propane you use in Maryland is extracted and produced right here in the U.S. Our country exports more propane than we use.

However, propane is a coproduct of the natural gas and oil refining process. As a result, its price is somewhat tied to those fuels. Because propane and oil are close market competitors, oil prices are generally the best metric to predict how propane’s rate will ebb and flow.

What factors affect the price of propane?

There is a range of reasons that the price of propane would go up or down at any given time. These include the following:

The weather

It stands to reason that when the weather is cold, the price of propane can rise as more people use it to heat their homes. Similarly, a rainy growing season in regions with lots of farms can cause prices to go up. These farms need more fuel for crop drying.

Transportation

If you, like our customers, live in the Eastern U.S., your price for propane is affected by the distance it must travel from its source. Our country’s largest propane storage facilities are located in Texas and Kansas. So, propane already needs to go a long way to reach the East Coast. Icy roads in the winter further increase transportation costs.

International demand

The amount propane costs is affected by its use as a petrochemical feedstock. Petrochemical manufacturers use propane for materials that eventually become plastic, paper, adhesives, detergents and other products. This use of propane continues to grow, and these manufacturers are now the largest consumers of the fuel.

There’s also reason to expect more U.S. propane to go to Europe in the coming months as the E.U. cuts off Russian fuel.

Let Q-Dog help you stabilize your propane expenses

We have a way to make your propane costs more manageable and cut your winter expenses virtually in half. Our Budget Plan allows you to spread your propane expenses over 12 months. You’ll pay the same amount every month, even if you receive two deliveries. There’s no fee to enroll.

To learn more about Q-Dog’s Budget Plan, get in touch with our team.

Heating Oil Vs. Bioheat® Fuel

Is organic biofuel really better for the environment and your home?

From politicians and industry leaders to everyday homeowners, people are rightly concerned about the harmful effects of climate change. But how can people take steps in their daily lives to address it?

At Q-Dog, we frequently talk to Charles County and Southern Maryland customers with questions about their home heating fuel. Is it harming the environment? Is it making the air unhealthy to breathe? Could they be doing more to reduce their home’s carbon footprint?

We’re happy to say that heating oil delivery customers already receive some of the most eco-friendly fuel available — Bioheat® fuel. Here’s a primer on what Bioheat fuel is and how it’s different from traditional heating oil.

Bioheat fuel and the environment

Bioheat fuel mixes ultra-low sulfur heating oil with organic biofuel. While all heating oil in Maryland is low sulfur (which is great for air quality), Bioheat fuel is more eco-friendly because it incorporates biofuel, a gallon-for-gallon substitute for petroleum. Biofuel is produced using recycled and organic ingredients. These include:

  • used cooking oil
  • animal fats and tallow
  • inedible corn oil
  • soybean oil
  • algae

Using biofuel instead of petroleum lowers greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent. Your home also releases fewer sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, mercury and particular matter emissions. This improves air quality, reduces acid rain and removes carcinogens from the environment.

The biofuel production process also diverts landfill waste and puts it to good use!

Bioheat fuel and your home budget

All of us know that fuel rates change frequently. This includes heating oil. That said, the price difference between Bioheat fuel and traditional heating oil is minor — generally measured in cents per gallon!

But when considering the financial benefit of Bioheat fuel compared to traditional heating oil, you should consider the savings you can experience on equipment maintenance.

Bioheat fuel and your heating system

To begin with, Bioheat fuel works in oil-fired heating systems without the need for any modifications. It burns far cleaner than traditional heating oil and leaves fewer deposits in your furnace or boiler. Consequently, your heating system will have less wear and tear, require less maintenance, work more efficiently and live longer. All of that translates to extra money in your wallet!

Bioheat fuel and your family’s comfort

Traditional heating oil and Bioheat fuel are both highly effective at heating your living spaces and water. Heating oil has always had a high heating capacity (about 138,690 Btu’s per gallon). Bioheat fuel’s Btu output is similar, resulting in the highest heating power of any other alternative energy. There has been some research indicating that Bioheat blends of 20 percent or higher have a lower Btu output (by a small margin) compared to conventional heating oil. Even so, this lower heat output can be offset by the cost savings from less maintenance.

Are you dissatisfied with your heating oil provider? Get in touch with Q-Dog, and we’ll provide the fuel delivery service you deserve!

Propane Is a Green Fuel

Propane-powered homes enjoy efficiency, reliability, and affordability

green energy marylandDo you power your home’s heating systems, water heater, and cooking and laundry appliances with propane?

Many homeowners want to know that their fuel is not harming the environment. At Q-Dog, we are proud to offer propane delivery because it is a green, dependable and energy-efficient fuel. Here are answers to some of the questions we hear about how propane affects the fight against climate change.

Is propane a greenhouse gas?

Propane is not a greenhouse gas. Indeed, it’s considered an alternative fuel by the 1990 Clean Air Act and the 1992 National Energy Policy. Because propane burns with incredible efficiency (more on that later), almost no heat energy escapes from your home when you use it.

And the emissions propane does produce are far cleaner than other fuels:

  • Propane has the lowest carbon intensity of any home fuel besides natural gas.
  • Unlike natural gas, propane is methane-free.
  • Homes with propane furnaces emit up to 50 percent less nitrogen oxide than other fuels.
  • Homes with propane furnaces emit up to 82 percent less sulfur oxide than other fuels.
  • Propane emits virtually no particulate matter, a known carcinogen.

Simply put, propane is a truly green fuel. And it’s becoming even greener. Advances in renewable propane have produced a product that is chemically identical to conventional propane, but it’s made from organic and recycled feedstocks like animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass and other triglycerides. Renewable propane works in propane-fired equipment without modification. Its eco-friendly production process means it’s carbon-neutral at the point of combustion!

Does propane production require drilling?

Propane is a liquid co-product of oil and natural gas extraction. It comes from the exact same wells as those fuels and requires no additional drilling. This is great for the environment.

It’s worth noting, as well, that propane is a domestically-made fuel. In fact, the U.S. exports more propane than we use. So, propane-powered households are less dependent on global oil markets. While propane isn’t totally insulated from fluctuations in these markets, it’s less volatile, price-wise, than many other fuels.

How energy efficient is propane?

Propane is one of the most energy-efficient fuels available today. It is far more efficient for heating, hot water and other home uses than electricity. Consider these facts:

  • Propane burns hotter and more efficiently than many other energy sources. It has twice the Btu output of natural gas and far outpaces the heating capacity of electric heat pumps.
  • Today’s propane furnaces have over 90 percent efficiency in use.
  • Propane water heaters work quicker and more efficiently than their electric counterparts. Propane tankless water heaters produce nearly unlimited hot water on demand.
  • Propane clothes dryers dry laundry 25 percent faster than electrical products.

Taken together, you can count on propane’s high efficiency to lower your fuel usage and reduce your home’s carbon footprint. This makes it both eco-friendly and cost-effective.

You can count on propane to keep your home warm and safe, and you can count on Q-Dog to deliver that propane reliably and professionally! Contact us today to become a customer.

Are Propane and Natural Gas the Same?

Understanding the difference between two popular home fuels

home fuel options marylandIf you’re choosing between natural gas or propane, it’s not always easy to know the difference. After all, both look the same when burned in heating systems and appliances. They’re even scented with odorants that smell the same.

However, propane and natural gas are quite different. Let’s explore how they differ chemically and how you use them in your home.

The difference between natural gas and propane

Propane is essentially a natural gas liquid. Both propane and natural gas are extracted from the same wells using the same process (along with such co-products as ethane, butane, isobutane and pentane). This is quite good environmentally since fewer wells need to be dug.

Chemically, natural gas is methane, and it’s lighter than air. Propane is heavier than air. That’s why natural gas rises and propane sinks to the ground. That also explains why these fuels must be transported differently. Natural gas travels through contained pipes directly into your home, while propane can travel under pressure as a liquid via trucks to your home’s tank (it gasifies as pressure is relieved).

Choosing between propane and natural gas

Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to power your home’s heating and appliances with propane or natural gas.

  • It’s much more expensive to connect your home to a natural gas utility — as much as $12,000 in Maryland. And that’s only if there’s a utility nearby you can access.
  • Natural gas and propane can power a range of systems and appliances, and both are energy efficient. Even so, propane produces twice the Btu intensity of natural gas. So, you’ll likely end up using less to heat your home, water and gas-fired products.
  • Propane and natural gas emit very little carbon dioxide (CO2). But natural gas is methane, which the Environmental Protection Agency found to be 25 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
  • Because natural gas travels through utility lines — many old and under-maintained — it’s more susceptible to widespread disruptions. With a propane tank attached to your home, you control your fuel supply.
  • Although your propane tank needs to be refilled, many fuel providers, including Q-Dog, offer no-fee automatic delivery service, so you never run low.

Are you looking for a reliable, dedicated propane partner? Become a Q-Dog customer!

5 Energy-Saving Tips for Summer

Prices are up, but you can still save money on energy costs!

energy saving tips marylandWe at Q-Dog have heard from plenty of Maryland customers worried about energy prices. We’re as concerned as you are and hope fuel and electricity prices will come down to earth soon.

In the meantime, we are always looking for ways to save you money by helping you make your home more energy-efficient. With that in mind, here are five tried-and-true tips for reducing energy use during the summer.

1. Shut your curtains and blinds

Don’t let the unobstructed summer sun bake your living space and make your air conditioning work harder. Keep your reflecting blinds and curtains closed during daylight hours. This also helps contain the cooled air inside your home.

2. Avoid opening your oven and fridge doors

The temperature inside your heated oven drops by at least 25 degrees every time you open the door. To avoid using more propane or natural gas for cooking, use the oven light instead.

The same goes for your refrigerator. When you hold the door open, your fridge uses more electricity to keep food cool. Decide what you want to eat before your open the refrigerator.

3. Only run full loads of dishes and clothes

Both clothes washers and dishwashers are designed to run with full loads. You waste hot water and energy when you run them half-full. You’ll run fewer cycles if you wait until there’s a full machine.

Want to save more energy? Try washing clothes and dishes on cold water settings. It still does the job but slashes the gas or heating oil you use in heating water!

4. Install a smart thermostat

You don’t need to keep the house as cool when you’re away or asleep. A smart thermostat allows you to schedule higher temperatures and give your A/C a rest. Smart thermostats can make power-saving adjustments when they sense rooms are empty, further reducing your electricity bills.

5. Take shorter and cooler showers

Did you know that heating water accounts for almost 20 percent of your home’s energy costs? But you can significantly lower your hot water expenses by taking a cooler shower during the summer. You’ll feel extra-refreshed afterward!

Also, if you shorten your daily shower by only four minutes, you’ll save 3,650 gallons of water for the year!

Are you looking for the most trusted home fuel supplier in Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Southern Anne Arundel and Southern Prince George’s counties? Contact us to become a Q-Dog customer.

Reliable Propane Delivery Near You

High-Quality Fuel at Fair Prices

propane delivery marylandPropane is one of the most energy-efficient, clean-burning home fuels out there. It can power home heating systems, water heaters, dryers, cooking appliances, and outdoor living products.

If your home or business is in Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Southern Anne Arundel, and Southern Prince George’s counties in Maryland, you have access to the most trusted propane delivery company in the area. Q-Dog provides premium fuel at fair prices with many ways to save money!

The Most Dependable Delivery Team in the Region

Your neighbors know that the Q-Dog propane delivery team is the most reliable crew around. Our courteous, professional drivers show up when we say we will and get your tank filled quickly and safely. With our convenient, no-fee Automatic Delivery option, you never need to check your fuel levels. Q-Dog monitors your propane usage and schedules tank refills when you need them.

We also provide full-service set-up assistance. We can deliver and install an underground or aboveground propane tank and even arrange tank monitoring for you!

Convenient Payment & Pricing Options

Prices are up everywhere, and we want to make propane as affordable as possible for you. So, we encourage propane customers to take advantage of our monthly budget plan. Instead of getting hit with four or five huge fuel bills around the holidays and tax time, you can spread your year’s propane expenses over 12 lower, equal installments. This cuts your winter bills virtually in half!

As a Q-Dog customer, you also have a range of payment options, including cash, check, electronic bank transfer, and all major credit cards.

Fuel Discounts & Savings

One of the best benefits of joining the Q-Dog family of customers is all the opportunities you have for discounts.

  • 25 cents off per gallon for your first Automatic Delivery fill
  • 5 cents off per gallon on every Automatic Delivery fill after that
  • 5 cents off per gallon when you use our secure auto charge system with a credit card
  • 5 cents off per gallon when you use EFT draft payment

And you can save even more money with our Customer Referral Reward Program. For each new customer you refer, we give you a 10 cents per gallon discount on all fuel purchased for one year.

Perhaps most importantly, Q-Dog genuinely values our connection to the region. Since 1945, we’ve been distributing fuel in Southern Maryland, keeping families safe and comfortable. We want to do the same for you. Reach out to become a customer.

Budget Plans: Managing Costs in Volatile Times

Q-Dog is here to help!

fuel payment marylandThis is an unprecedented time when it comes to anxiety over fuel costs. At Q-Dog, we understand the concern over the volatility of fuel costs since the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

Situations such as this are why, years ago, we created our Budget Plan. Your propane and heating oil costs are spread over 12 easy, affordable monthly payments. This allow for more stability and control when it comes to managing your fuel costs.

You won’t have to pay any more money than you did before. Our Budget Plan is completely free to join. There are no hidden expenses or surprise costs.

Six Budget Plan Facts

With the Q-Dog Budget Plan:

  1. You don’t use more fuel than you normally would. 
  2. We only charge you for the fuel you actually receive at the market price on the day of your delivery. 
  3. Your bills more predictable and manageable at a time when fuel prices are fluctuating like crazy.  
  4. You’ll have more cash on hand during the winter months. 
  5. Even if it’s really cold one month and you get two deliveries, you still only pay your one monthly payment.  
  6. If you have a growing balance, you’ll never pay any finance charges. 

How your payments are determined

Our calculation of your monthly payment starts by reviewing your past fuel use. Then:

  • We multiply your annual fuel use by this year’s projected price 
  • That figure is then divided into 12 lower, even monthly payments 

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars after each delivery, you may save more than 50% on your winter payments!

If your actual expenditures are a bit higher or lower than we estimated during the winter, we’ll make appropriate adjustments to your payments.

Since they recognized it to be a fast and cost-effective solution to overcome a difficult situation, many Q-Dog customers have joined our Budget Plan.

Consider things from a different perspective: You wouldn’t want to make mortgage payments for five months rather than twelve. Many people, on the other hand, pay for 80% of their fuel in four or five months. As a result, this naturally leads to large winter payments.

We’re on Your Side

It’s our goal to offer you the greatest price we can, while still providing you with trustworthy service and high-quality heating oil and propane that keeps your family warm and comfortable.

Many of you have been loyal to us for a long time. We understand that it’s frustrating to pay so much for your propane or heating oil. Unfortunately, the costs charged by our suppliers restrict our choices. You may rely on us to do everything we can to assist you during these trying times.

Ready to learn more about the Q-Dog Budget Plan? Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to answer them and sign you up!

The Q-Dog Difference

We’re not like other fuel companies — we’re better!

home fuel delivery marylandIf you haven’t been satisfied with other area fuel companies, it’s time to give Q-Dog a try! We’re the happy medium between full-service fuel companies and fuel discounters.

We do one thing: deliver your fuel.

You’re not paying to support an equipment installation and service department, as you would as a customer with full-service fuel companies. That streamlined operation allows us to keep our heating oil and propane prices low without sacrificing quality in our service to you. And, because we’re local, you get responsive, reliable service that no big national fuel company can match.

We’re not like other discounters

There are too many fuel discounters out there who give the term discounter a bad name. They’re often one-person companies, with only one truck (usually a cheap used one) and the owner handling the deliveries as well as the billing and other tasks needed to run the business. If you use heating oil, you can’t be sure about its quality.

These discounters are often here today, gone tomorrow. If you need heating oil or propane delivered right away, will they even be around to answer your call?

Q-Dog stands head and shoulders above those guys. First of all, we’re a family-owned, locally-based business. Our parent company, The Gott Company, has been serving this area for more than 70 years. We have strong relationships with our suppliers, so you know that we’ll always have propane or heating oil for you.

Our team of skilled, courteous delivery drivers are trained to uphold the highest standards for safety. We don’t have just one or two trucks. We have a fleet of them, all bought new in recent years, and well-maintained so that when you need propane or heating oil, we’ll be able to get it to you. We have an office service staff ready to help when you contact us.

Another way we’re different from those other discounters is that they’re almost always Cash on Delivery (COD). That’s your only option. At Q-Dog, we make it easy to manage your fuel supply with the choice of Automatic Delivery or Will-Call Delivery. We also offer same-day and next-day delivery.

You’re also in control of your fuel costs with options like our charge accounts and budget payment plans. No need to write a check when we make a delivery, you can pay your bill online with our secure online account.

Get the best service at the best prices. Become a Q-Dog customer today!