Large Hassles and Small from the Government

I often write about the large hassles we have to deal with from the government.  Here is an example of the myriad of smaller ones:

We have our campground workers in Florida living in their RV on site.  As one of the amenities we offer them, we have a 120 gallon propane tank on each employee RV site they can use for their cooking and heating.   Unfortunately, the State of Florida has banned connecting propane tanks of this size to a "non-stationary" dwelling.  We were grandfathered for a while, but now we have to get rid of all the tanks.  Our employees can still have little 5 gallon tanks, but instead of having a truck come by once a year to fill all the large tanks, each of our employees must now drive 20 miles into town dozens of times to fill their little 5 gallon tanks.

Thanks state of Florida -- getting rid of a 120 gallon tank at the price of about a thousand extra miles of driving and two or three full man-days of extra time sure seems like a smart legislative choice to me.


  1. Ted Rado:

    Ah! Government ineptitude and red tape strikes again! And some people want MORE government!!?

  2. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States:

    Certainly benefits the podunk propane service provider, don't it?

    Who donated to the campaign of whoever sponsored this law?

    I'm kind of with J.P. Hogan, who, in one of his novels a couple decades back, offered up the proposition of a Constitutional amendment that allowed you to challenge a law in court on the notion that its primary purpose was to protect/benefit a narrow segment of the potential market from competition.

  3. None:

    How did that statute get on the books ? Was someone in a mobile home once killed by a large propane tank explosion ?

  4. PermaLurker:

    To None:
    I don't know for sure, but regulations like this are rarely really about safety. My guess is that if the RV users were any thing like me when I fill my large tank, they waited until the price of propane was low and filled the tank, topping it off whenever it dropped; saving themselves a good deal of money. The regulation is probably a bone tossed to propane sellers to provide a steady market for when the prices are high, because there's no way you can out wait price spikes with a itty bitty tank.

  5. Rick Caird:

    One of the major problems with regulations and over regulation is there is never any economic cost to to the issuer to cover the cost of the new regulation nor is there much in the way of oversight.

  6. me:

    land of the free.

    whenever i think about finally settling down, something like this comes along and keeps me light.

  7. DrTorch:

    Sounds like stimulus to me!

  8. Philip Ngai:

    Can you build a small stationary building for the express purpose of refilling the 5 gallon tanks?

  9. Douglas2:

    Are the propane companies allowed to deliver to the RV onboard tanks? It might be uneconomical for them to roll out for a 30 gallon fill, but if several RV's in a limited area needed to be serviced at the same time....

    I've actually been pondering the reverse. We purchased our house with a tank already present from a major national propane supplier. They charge an expensive tank rental if we don't use "enough" gas, and they even charge to remove their tank if we deign to cancel the service.

    I can purchase my own tank, but I'd really like to get a pair of 100 lb portable cylinders and just take them alternately for refilling as needed. I just don't know if the smaller surface area of the smaller cylinder can rally support enough vapor to supply a domestic hot-water heater.

  10. Patrick:

    What is the basis for the Government position? Safety? Then I say bull. Folks its way past the push back time. These government positions need to be eliminated. Like I said "push back".

  11. John David Galt:

    The only "crisis" I see is an infestation of bureaucrats. Time to call the Orkin man.

  12. Rob:

    These is a difference (at least to the regulators between a ASME tank and a D.O.T. tank. The ASME are for permanent mounting and the DOT are for mobile use. If you are using DOT tanks, put some small wheels under them so they are “non-stationary”.

  13. Don:

    But, but,... It's for the CHILDREN!!!

    Technically it's illegal to refill tanks without a hazmat license (at least, in Texas, and I'd be really surprised to find Florida with more lenient laws on something like that). If they were going to do that, then Warren would have a whole box full of paperwork and additional training for his personnel. Not worth it, even if he could make a few bucks refilling his customer's tanks too.

    Why don't you work with one of the automated tank replacement companies to put such a system in at the parks. Then you could work it out so that the employees could get reimbursed or use a special card to pull their tanks, and the system would be paid for by your customers, who would be able to replace their tanks when they run out making it convenient for them. Just a thought.

  14. Ian Random:

    A coworker who lives in a trailer park, says there is a guy that comes around and fills-up everybody's tank at a decent rate.

  15. Ted Rado:

    My girlfrind was a small business owner before whe retired. I was amazed at the amount of petty BS she had to put up with. I would have told them to go to hell and wound up in jail. I marvel that anybody wants to run a business in this environment of red tape and regulations. You guys deserve the Medal of Honor. The government officials deserve to go to prison. The government should grease the skids for businessmen, not throw tacks in the road.

  16. astonerii:

    Can you do a work around on this by making a tiny permanent structure at the camp site to attach the propane tank to? Something like a barbeque grill, then the RV can attach to the barbeque grill?

  17. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States:

    >>>> Time to call the Orkin man.

    Is he related to this guy?

  18. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States:

    Q: Can you buy some other property not associated with the camp site, put the large 120 tank there, and fill that up at will, then just have your guy go to the private storage to fill it?

  19. Chesteracorgi:

    Back in '87 3 local firemen died when trying to put out a fire where 20 lb propane tanks were stored and the propane tanks exploded. From personal experience with unregulated 20 lb tanks (I fly Hot Air balloons) I can attest to the explosive and fire hazards the tanks present.

    I do not judge the wisdom of the statute, but anyone who pooh-poohs the safety concern does not do so from experience. A single 20 lb tank can level a city block, even if that city block is the old reinforced concrete construction.

    LP tanks are engineered to be very safe: there are maybe 10 explosions per year, and most of those from catastrophic fires; but the danger is real. The reason for licensing propane refueling stations is because of the foolishness of a few idiots who don't know how dangerous propane can be.

    Coyote, I have no doubt that you are responsible, however this is not a case of governmental over-reach. May I suggest that you see if you can get licensed to be a propane refueler. If that is barred or too costly then your case for over-reach is much better.

  20. astonerii:

    Re Chesteracorgi:
    After an investigation, it was found that the warehouse was housing an illegal 500 lb. propane tank. An employee was attempting to move the tank to another part of the warehouse when it slipped off the forklift, breaking the valve. The leaking gas filled the entire structure with propane and the gas found an unknown ignition source.

    I cannot find any other 1983 explosions on google. this was a 500 lb tank. 25 times as large as the 20 lb, and while it caused tremendous damage, it did not LEVEL a city block.

    Propane does not contain oxygen, thus, the only way it explodes, is if it is out in the environment mixed with air, inside a contained structure and has an ignition source, kind of like that one in buffalo in 1983... The propane leaked into the warehouse which was over 100 feet on one side, likely multiple stories of open.

    I noticed that you listed 20lb tanks... sounds like more than one... Now, as for safety, you argue that concrete would be leveled from a 20lb tank for a whole city block. Many houses use 2 or more of these 20lb tanks for their heating and cooking needs, now imagine the chain reaction that would level an entire city, worse than any nuclear explosion.

    Quite frankly; Chesteracorgi, I am sure that 3 firemen died in your locality from a tank. I do not think it destroyed a city block. In fact, I am pretty certain that 16 cubic feet of propane can destroy a city block under the most ideal conditions. It could level a single home and cause damage to adjoining homes for certain, and then the fires could cause more damage obviously...

  21. astonerii:

    In fact, I am pretty certain that 16 cubic feet of propane can NOT destroy a city block under the most ideal conditions.

  22. astonerii:

    20lbs of propane = 453,674,037 joule

    The ton of TNT is a unit of energy equal to 4,184,000,000 joules,

    Most portable weapons have a yield of about 1 kilonto (KT), which is equivalent to the
    1,000 tons of TNT. This magnitude of detonation is not large enough to destroy a city,
    but large enough to destroy a large building and much of a city block.

    meaning that you need 4,184,000,000,000 joules of energy to destroy a block.

    it would require 9,222 such propane tanks to have as much energy, and they would have no where near the destructive force.

  23. Western Rover:

    @Douglas2, I also bought a house with an expensive rental tank. Unlike you, I bought an even larger tank of my own, so I could join with neighbors to do a group propane buy twice a year. I called the rental company to remove their tank, they did and billed me a removal fee. I wrote them asking when I agreed to pay this fee (their company wasn't even mentioned in the papers I signed at closing), they sent me a few more bills, and then they stopped sending me any mail. Did you at any time agree to any of this company's fees?

  24. smurfy:

    douglas2: run your plan by your insurance agent.

    corgi: Not a problem in Florida, but in snow country large permanent tanks are quite dangerous. The propane leaks get trapped under the snow and go undetected until the house three doors down blows up. I've been in Tahoe ten years and have seen two incidents. Here's a link to last years for astonerii:
    One of the benefits of having a service is they dig them out and I would assume take on liability.

    Back when I was a roofer I was rolling out some torch-down roofing material. You move about 15 feet or so as you roll out each roll. So of course you hold the propane tank in one hand and the torch in the other so you don't have to stop and move the tank in between rolls. See where this is going, do I need to continue? When I spotted the flame coming out of the regulator I wasn't sure whether to turn off the valve, jump off the roof, or throw the burning tank off the roof. I shut the valve, no one even saw it. Now I can never make jokes about OSHA.

  25. DensityDuck:

    I'm pretty sure this is a case of "we can't guarantee that everyone will do it properly, so we'll make it so that nobody can do it at all".

    The tax revenue that the state gets from propane sales probably didn't hurt either.

  26. Dave:

    Put the employee RV's on blocks. Presto, they're stationary. Hook 'em back up to the 120.