Fact Check : Does The LPG Gas Tank Pressure Test Work?

Can we determine which brands are cheating their customers using the LPG gas tank pressure test?

A viral video shows how LPG gas tanks from various brands have different pressures, suggesting gas fraud.

Take a look at the video for yourself, and find out if that LPG gas tank pressure test actually works!

Fact Check : Does The LPG Gas Tank Pressure Test Work?

 

LPG Gas Tank Pressure Test Proves Fraud?

In the viral video, a man lined up gas tanks from six different brands – MyGaz, Mira Gas, Petron, Petronas, BHP and Solar Gas.

He then tears off their cap seals and checks their pressure with a pressure gauge, noting how different LPG gas tanks have different tank pressures.

Although he does not directly claim there was gas fraud, it’s implied in the video.

 

The LPG Gas Tank Pressure Test : It Works But There’s No Fraud

While we do not believe the video is fraudulent, it is nevertheless MISLEADING.

The amount of LPG in each gas tank is determined by WEIGHT, not pressure. So the video itself, while interesting, is of no consequence.

The LPG gas tank pressure test may be accurate, but it’s NOT an indicator of how much gas is inside each tank.

And here are the reasons why…

Reason #1 : LPG Gas Is Sold By Weight, NOT Pressure

LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) all around the world is sold by weight, and not by pressure. That’s why the tanks are labelled and sold in different sizes based on WEIGHT :

LPG Gas Bottle Sizes

Naturally, the weight listed above is the weight of the LPG , and not the tank itself which is considerably heavier.

For example, a 45 kg LPG gas tank weighs 78 kg fully loaded, while a 90 kg tank weighs 155 kg.

This infographic by The Hindu is useful in demonstrating how to determine how much LPG gas is in each tank.

LPG Gas Tank Weight Calculation

Reason #2 : LPG Gas Pressure Varies A Lot

LPG gas pressure varies according to the gas mixture, temperature and even motion.

LPG is not one type of gas, but a mixture of mainly propane and butane. Here in Malaysia, it’s about 70% propane and 30% butane.

LPG Gas Composition for Malaysia

Propane vaporises much easier and at a lower temperature than butane, so the more propane in the LPG mix = the higher the pressure inside the tank.

A higher tank temperature (leaving it in the sun) or even shaking the tank will increase the pressure in the tank because more propane will vaporise.

Assuming they were not shaken or placed in the sun before the video was shot, the LPG gas tanks in the video have different pressures because they have different LPG gas mixes.

Reason #3 : LPG Gas Regulators Keep The Pressure Low

Irrespective of the pressure in the LPG gas tank, the gas regulator you hook up to it will maintain a constant, low pressure of just 2.75 kPA (0.4 psi or 0.0275 bar)

So it really doesn’t matter if the gas tank from your favourite LPG brand can deliver 100 psi or just a pitiful 55 psi. It’s going to get down-regulated to just 0.4 psi.

Gas stove flames

Reason #4 : High Pressure = Dangerous + Incomplete Combustion

The reason why gas regulators keep pressure so low is because stoves are designed to work properly and efficiently with such low pressures.

If you bypass the gas regulator, the 150X to 250X higher gas pressure will create extremely large flames that are dangerous, if not impossible, to cook with.

The high pressure will also prevent the gas from mixing properly with the air, resulting in complete combustion of the gas, wasting your money.

 

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