My ride on the propane taxi

I recently had to fill two different propane tanks and thought I’d share my experience.

The first I took to Home Depot for a swap. Rather than make an explicit trip out of it I tossed the empty in my trunk and drove around with it for a few days or maybe weeks. In the end I didn’t end up going by any HDs and ended up taking a detour on my way home one day. Lacking one of the new snazzy-dazzy self-serve gadgets out front that I’ve seen in a few locations, I had to go inside, pay a cashier, then go outside and flag down an employee who was milling about.

All in all it wasn’t too long a process since there was none of the oh-wait-wheres-the-key kind of thing I’ve suffered through in the past. Total cost: $19.

When the other tank went dry just a week later I thought I’d look into the Propane Taxi service that I’d seen ads for and which we’ve speculated on here in the past. I went to their website and punched in my zip code to discover that the delivery date would happen to be the very next day. Just good luck, that, but the longest I could have ended up waiting would have been if I’d ordered the following day – a Tuesday – which would have put the delivery 4 days out, on Saturday.

The site makes you go through a fairly quick registration process but it’s not onerous. Name, address, phone, credit card. You can have a different billing address for your credit card than where they’ll deliver the tank as well. Once I did that I was able to order my $21.99 tank with a $1.00 off coupon, making what would have been a $23.09 order $22.04.

I couldn’t tell you exactly when the delivery happened – the old tank was off to the left of my house when I left for work in the morning and the new one was in the exact same spot when I got home that night. They sent me a confirmation email to let me know it had been done as well.

All told I think that’s enough added convenience to justify $3, even for a cheapskate like me. If I’d had to drive out and back to Home Depot the closest one is a 10 mile round-trip, almost half a $3 gallon of gas – not to mention my beyond-value precious time. It might be a deal-breaker delay if I hadn’t come into a spare tank but if you can wait a maximum of 4 days for a refill I think this is a winner.

5 Comments so far

  1. Max (unregistered) on February 6th, 2008 @ 7:58 am

    Good to know, Don. I’ve always hated going to Home Depot to get a propane refill. I think I’ll try these guys when grilling season kicks in. My only worry is that someone might steal the tank if it’s sitting in front of my house in D.C. People like to steal pretty much anything they can get their hands on.

  2. Darling girlfriend (unregistered) on February 6th, 2008 @ 9:21 am

    Max – There’s a grilling season at your house? Don, much like the postal service, is willing to grill come rain, snow, hail or dark of night.

  3. Max (unregistered) on February 6th, 2008 @ 9:32 am

    Well I have to go up two flights of stairs to my roof deck which isn’t exactly easy or fun in bad weather. If I lived in a house with a bbq out in the back yard, I’m sure I’d be grilling all the time.

  4. Don (unregistered) on February 6th, 2008 @ 9:43 am

    You don’t have to leave it in front of your house if you have an accessible alternative. When you place the order you have an opportunity to tell them where the tank is. So if you can leave it off to the side or hide it under a giant chile pepper you’re free to do so.

  5. KCinDC (unregistered) on February 6th, 2008 @ 2:20 pm

    I thought this was going to be about a propane-powered taxi service, something like Clean Air Cab, which existed a few years back but apparently didn’t survive. Surely there’s a market for greener cabs now.

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