RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Finally a Response on the Propane while Driving Question

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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Finally a Response on the Propane while Driving Question

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Lyman

Colorado Springs, CO

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Posted: 06/30/09 10:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I asked 3 entities for a response to the question as to whether or not using propane while going down the road was a safety issue or not in their eyes. Below is the response I finally received from one of those entities. I have removed e-mail addresses for privacy purposes.

**By the way, I AM the intended recipient, and the RVIA was fully briefed to expect that this response would be shared with this forum, as you can see by my original letter, which I included below. To that end, all of you are ALSO the intended recipients. I included their Confidentiality footnote simply for continuity and legal notification purposes.**


From: RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association)
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 12:00 PM
Subject: FW: Recreational Vehicle Propane Usage while In-Transit

Dear Mr. Tryon

Propane use while going down the highway is not a direct safety issue, in our opinion.

The only evidence we have on this topic involves tunnels. We have been aware that several tunnels had prohibitions for propane being on when the RV unit went through the tunnel. The issue was always reported that propane is heavier than air and if there were leaks, propane would gather in the bottom of the tunnel (particularly tunnels under bodies of water where both openings are higher than the center of the tunnel). About 5 years ago or so, the Maryland Transit Authority called RVIA, as they were seeking information to change regulations they had in place regarding a propane prohibition at their bay tunnel in Baltimore. We discussed the regulations, the safety problem potentials, and their proposed actions. In the end, Maryland allowed up to 100 pounds of propane thought the tunnel. Their rationale was the tunnel is big, which would allow propane and air to mix quickly beyond an explosive mixture and there had never been documented propane issues. Maryland has since eliminated all their propane restrictions, except for the 100 pound maximum limitation.

We would agree with Maryland there is not a safety issue with propane being used as the RV travels down the highway. Hope this helps.


Bruce



Confidentiality Notice: This e-mail transmission and attachments, if any, is intended only for the receipt and use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information which is confidential, attorney-client privileged, protected under the work product doctrine or otherwise exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, dissemination, distribution, copying, use or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. Any unauthorized interception of this transmission is illegal under the law. If you have received this transmission in error, please promptly notify the sender by reply e-mail, and immediately destroy all physical and electronic copies of this transmission.



From: Tryon, Lyman
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 1:40 PM
To: RVIA
Subject: Recreational Vehicle Propane Usage while In-Transit

Re-transmission of an e-mail sent on May 28, 2009:

What is the Council's/Administration's/Industry's position on people driving motorhomes on the country's highways and byways that keep their built-in refrigerator/freezers cold by running them on propane off of the built-in propane cylinders on those motorhomes while driving down the road?

Within the forum I'm a part of, there is a split on whether it's safe or not (and yes, I would guess at least 60% of the owners do this routinely, and somewhat a lesser number actually turn off the propane (and paired flame to run the refrigerator) while fueling the motorhome) at a gas or diesel station.

Some say there's never been an accident, so it must be safe, others say in case of a wreck (or the lit flame source while refueling, at the very least), you don't want the propane flowing because any breach of that line (and again, the open flame) could be a potential fuel supply for a fireball.

Personally, I'm tired of the discussion (I run the generator while moving down the road to power the air conditioners and the refrigerator - there are some schools of thought that this is a potential problem as well), and am ready for the 'official' answer.

By the way, we all agree that once you get the refrigerator cold, it will stay that way for 5 to 6 hours if the door seals are good and you turn off all power or propane to it.

As you can tell from the addressee list, I am asking the National Fire Safety Council, the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Adinistration, and the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association's office of Standards the same question, and am hoping for a finally conclusive answer that (hopefully) all of you will agree on and do your best to get that response out to the public.

Thanks to all of you for your time and effort on this endeavor,

Lyman P. Tryon


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Doug4.7

Hartselle, AL, USA

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Posted: 06/30/09 10:21am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the data. I usually run my fridge on 12V while on the road, more because my pilot light will go out than for safety concerns. The one place I could see there be a problem is a gas station (the mixture of open flame and gas vapors is not a good thing). Of course, how many people have you seen smoking at a gas station (I've seen quite a number, even while filling their tank).

Doug4.7

Hartselle, AL, USA

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Posted: 06/30/09 10:23am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lyman wrote:

I asked 3 entities for a response to the question as to whether or not using propane while going down the road was a safety issue or not in their eyes. Below is the response I finally received from one of those entities.
I do wish some of the others would have responded. The RVIA could be considered a "biased" source in this matter.

Moderator

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Posted: 06/30/09 10:44am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Moved from ATC

Heir Max

membership 1/16/2001, Bay Minette, AL

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Posted: 06/30/09 10:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All dealers will tell you the same thing, as has been the answer for years. If you're scared to death of gas as some folks are, turn it off. Simple as that.


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Kajtek1

CA

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Posted: 06/30/09 11:02am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks like RVIA is poorly informed.
All BC ferries require propane tanks sealed while using their services.
Than there is law and there is common sense.
Law doesn't require you to drive a vehicle with ABS, airbags and in some cases you don't have to have safety belts.
I still prefer to drive with those things.

RVUSA

Orlando, FL, USA

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Posted: 06/30/09 11:12am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Alabama requires you to shut off the propane when going thru the tunnel in mobile too.

old guy

Oregon (pronounced Or e gun)

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Posted: 06/30/09 11:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

been there done that. I've seen the station blow up and don't like what I saw. I don't care if your insurance is paid up or not, I just don't want to be next to the guy who thinks he's infallible and blows up the station and himself.

2oldman

Ca

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Posted: 06/30/09 11:27am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks Lyman. We're all going to continue to do what we want. If you're afraid of gas, turn it off.

I will save a link to this thread and add it to my others, because this is not the last time the question will be discussed on here.

tvman44

Southwest Louisiana

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Posted: 06/30/09 11:30am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RVUSA wrote:

Alabama requires you to shut off the propane when going thru the tunnel in mobile too.

Only in the old tunnel. It is OK in the tunnel on I-10. I called last year when we went in that direction and that is what they told me and we did it.


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