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Natural Gas and Propane Facts

Safety is our #1 priority at Hawkins County Gas.  We strive to make our customers feel comfortable and safe at all times.  In the event of an emergency, call our 24-hour emergency line at (423) 272-8841 or (423) 357-8585.  If your call is not answered please dial 911 and report your emergency.

Natural Gas

The properties of Natural Gas actually combine to make it the safe, clean and environmentally friendly energy choice for the 21st Century.

Natural Gas is...

  • A naturally occurring mixture of several light hydrocarbons and other gases.  The primary ingredient in Natural Gas is methane, composed of one part carbon and four parts hydrogen (CH4).

  • Lighter than air and non-corrosive.

  • Odorless and colorless in its natural state.  So, for safety reasons, an odor that smells like rotten eggs is added to Natural Gas so that you can smell it, allowing leaks to be located and repaired.

  • Gaseous at any temperature over -260° Fahrenheit.

  • Non-toxic and contains no poisonous ingredients, though in large quantities in enclosed spaces it can displace oxygen.

  • Clean burning:  methane burns easily and leaves few pollutants.  When natural gas is burned properly, by-products of combustion are primarily carbon dioxide and water vapor.  Because methane contains only one carbon atom, natural gas produces less carbon dioxide than any other fossil fuel, and few other pollutants as well.

  • Safer to handle than most fuels.  Natural gas by itself will not burn.  Combustion can occur only when there is a proper mixture of gas and air; a flammability range comprised of approximately 5 to 15 percent natural gas, and between 95 to 85 percent air.  Even with the proper mixture it requires a high ignition temperature of approximately 1,100° Fahrenheit.

  • A strong greenhouse gas, so burning it and producing carbon dioxide is actually preferable to allowing it to release into the atmosphere.

All of these factors combine to help make Natural Gas the safest energy source available.  Understanding and following proper safety practices help make it even safer.


Propane is an approved clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act.  Tests conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show that propane-fueled vehicles produce 30 percent to 60 percent less carbon monoxide and about 50 percent fewer toxins and other smog-producing emissions that gasoline engines.  Substituting propane for other fuels such as gasoline and fuel oil is an economical and viable step toward cleaner air.  Propane is commonly used for space and water heating, for cooking, and as fuel for engine applications such as forklifts, farm irrigation engines, fleet vehicles, and buses, however, its applications are rapidly growing due to new technology developments.

Propane is...

  • A hydrocarbon (C3H8) and is sometimes referred to as liquefied gas, LP-gas, or LPG.

  • Produced from both natural gas processing and crude oil refining, in roughly equal amounts from each source.

  • Has an ignition temperature of approximately 940° Fahrenheit.

  • Stored in tanks in a liquid form. 

  • Non-toxic and colorless and virtually odorless in its natural state.  So, for safety reasons, an odor that smells like rotten eggs is added to Natural Gas so that you can smell it, allowing leaks to be located and repaired.

  • Heavier than air, approximately 1.5 the weight, and will not readily dissipate up into the atmosphere.

Propane also has a remarkable safety record, due in large part to the stringent codes and regulations developed by the propane industry and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  Propane is non-toxic and produces minimal emissions and is not harmful to soil or water.

Propane is a safe and environmentally friendly fuel that is available now and widely used throughout the United States in homes, on farms, on the road, and in industrial and commercial operations.

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