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Author Topic: Propane checkbox in Master Station List Back to Topics
DavisSta

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Message Posted: May 28, 2013 10:04:18 PM

In the Master Station List, there is a checkbox for indicating whether the station has propane available for sale. I think there needs to be some clarification on what conditions should be met for the box to be checked, since different members seem to interpret its meaning differently.

Some stations sell propane by the gallon, allowing you to fill your own tank. Others offer only prefilled cylinders, generally for exchange with your empty cylinder. The question is whether either method of sale is sufficient for the MSL Propane box to be checked or whether the first scenario is required in order for the box to be checked. Current MSL entries are inconsistent and depend on how the member editing the entry interprets the meaning of the checkbox.

I would be interested in members' opinions of what the checkbox should mean, and particularly interested in any official guidance from the moderators. I would also suggest that the moderators include a brief instruction on the MSL entry form clarifying the meaning of the Propane checkbox.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Jul 21, 2013 6:43:42 AM

That is true kwzh but I think the issue here is propane that is non-vehicle fuel.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Jul 21, 2013 4:59:29 AM

But one of the uses of propane *is* for vehicle fuel, and if some stations are selling it as such, why not make that information available in the notes?
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Jul 20, 2013 4:32:31 PM

"At the very least, the finer granularity of propane info that we are seeking should be placed in the Station Notes field of a station's MSL record."

Why CampKohler? Is it too much trouble to pick up the phone and call the station? This is a vehicle fuel site, not a propane site.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Jul 20, 2013 3:15:01 PM

At the very least, the finer granularity of propane info that we are seeking should be placed in the Station Notes field of a station's MSL record. It may be too much to assume that a user (especially a non-member) would see it, but it's the best we can do until this situation is improved.
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DavisSta
All-Star Author San Francisco

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Message Posted: Jul 20, 2013 12:12:20 AM

Thanks, Sneakers55. I, too, have now put this question to the moderators and received a similar reply. Here is the full reply from CC:

"There is currently only a propane checkbox in the MSL. We have no way of specifying whether this is for buying a new tank, refilling or exchanging. We hope to improve upon this as time goes on.

For now, if the station sells propane at all, it seems likely that propane should be checked, in the MSL."

So it seems that it is at least semiofficial policy that a station that has propane cylinder exchange qualifies to have the MSL box checked, even if it lacks the capacity to refill propane tanks.
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Sneakers55
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Jul 9, 2013 5:45:56 PM

I asked the same question to the moderators, and they said that any of the propane-selling options should result in checking the "propane" box.
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jun 21, 2013 6:47:48 PM

Scoutmaster - I agree with you - it is Campkohlder that I disagree with...
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Jun 21, 2013 9:21:22 AM

TxJeans,

I have no problem with it staying where it is but expanding it any farther is not necessary.
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smugutu1234
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Jun 21, 2013 7:10:20 AM

I always call ahead to make sure of the product(s) I am looking for to save gas.
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jun 21, 2013 7:01:36 AM

CK - So, you would be fine if they just remove the propane indication completely from the MSL?
There is NO NEED for GB to post a list of links. Those that have need for detailed propane should mark those lists to their favorites and not expect GB to be the end-all/be-all for every single user in their marketplace.

We have a long list of suggestions,and many would benefit a larger portion of the users of GB than a complete list of propane with details, APPS for every function feature on the main site, etc.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Jun 21, 2013 6:13:10 AM

What's this the footnotes on your posts, CampKohler?

If you want to know what type of propane is sold at a gas station, pick up the phone and call or check the stations web site.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Jun 20, 2013 3:52:38 PM

If the list of links is the answer—and it might very well be—, then, rather than an uninformative propane feature, there should be a Propane button that displays the list. On the other hand, if the propane feature is to remain, it should do the job competently.*

----
*Including, of course, a way around the No/Unknown ambiguity.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Jun 5, 2013 6:57:35 AM

Thanks kwzh.

If this was a propane fuel site, I could understand the need. Since this is a vehicle fuel site, I don't really see the need. There are thousands of places to get propane including gas stations.

Here is a site if you use propane for home heating/cooking.

Here is a link for Blue Rhino tank exchanges.

Here is a link for AmeriGas tank exchanges.

Here is a link for UHaul tank refill stations.

You can also check Lowes, Home Depot, KMart, Wal*Mart and many other retailers and grocery stores in your area.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Jun 5, 2013 12:59:59 AM

scoutmaster, the first half is "Does station X have feature Y", while the second half is "Which stations have feature Y". Currently, the only way to do the latter is to tediously iterate through all stations by hand.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Jun 3, 2013 8:31:50 AM

"The object is not to determine if a particular station has propane, but which of all the stations has it."

I'm not sure what this means????? Isn't the 1st part of the sentence the same as the last part?



[Edited by: scoutmaster at 6/3/2013 8:33:23 AM EST]
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maxstar
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Jun 2, 2013 11:37:32 PM

Combine this feature with the one below, and then the site would have something. The station features differentiate this site from others should be utilized more.

Search for station by "Station Feature"

[Edited by: maxstar at 6/2/2013 11:38:16 PM EST]
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Jun 2, 2013 11:28:46 PM

Agreed. Though if the goal is to find the list of stations, given the feature -- rather than the list of features, given the station -- then it would be a great improvement to be able to do the former search as easily as we can do the latter.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Jun 1, 2013 12:29:20 PM

The object is not to determine if a particular station has propane, but which of all the stations has it. Surely having a check box makes more sense than calling all the stations along one's route.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Jun 1, 2013 8:03:02 AM

If this was a "All Fuels" website, sure add all the checkboxes you want. But this is a vehicle fuel website and the station features are just that, features. If you want more details, pick up the phone and call the station.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: May 31, 2013 7:23:02 PM

Maxstar's suggestion would do it. You have to have both. If you are going to cold country with your trailer/RV, you need may need exchange or refill for heating. If you vehicle runs on propane, you need refill to run. To just say propane by itself only gets half the job done.

With all the requests for check boxes over the years, the only new one I ever saw was for the number of pumps (which seems unimportant). I wonder why making these changes is so difficult?
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: May 31, 2013 4:45:39 PM

Well then we need separate checkboxes for

Air - Free or charge
Restrooms - Free or charge
Payphone - Coin or credit card
ATM - Fee or no fee
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maxstar
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: May 31, 2013 3:56:39 PM

The answer would be to better clarify the "Propane" feature to read "Propane Refill".

Additionally, to accommodate BBQ type propane canister exchanges add a new designation labeled "Propane Exchange" with an icon of a propane cylinder.

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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: May 31, 2013 10:02:07 AM

Gas_Buddy wrote > Maybe it's obviously to only me that the propane referred to in the "check box" refers to propane canisters used in bargeque grills (for example) but I view it the same as the check box for phone;

There are 2 columns of check boxes in the MSL. On is for fuels (diesel, ethanol, gas and propane) and the other is of other features (pay phone, convenience store, restrooms etc). If the check box for propane referred to propane canisters used in barbeque grills, why is is listed in the same column as all the other vehicle fuels? To me the checkbox refers to propane that can be used to refil durable tanks for vehicles, though so few people know that some vehicles run on propane that they assume it is for barbeque grills.

Gas_Buddy wrote > some phones accept coins, some accept credit cards. Should there be a further check box for each of those options, or wouldn't it be sufficient to simply put a note in the Station Notes? Does there need to be or should there be a check box for every possible option, rather than a simple Station Note comment?

I don't see this example of phones as being remotely relevant to the discussion. It is simply sophistry on the part of a member who has a knee jerk reaction to object to change.

I see no reason to not have checkboxes for fuels such as propane, CNG, Ethanol etc and be able to perform searches based on station features so consumers could know where these fuels are available.

Gas_Buddy wrote > I don't believe that ziyulu was suggesting putting cooking oil in propane tanks, but rather that cooking oil could be used as a fuel too (based on multiple discussions topics previously started).

It was a joke.
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plastic
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: May 31, 2013 9:26:08 AM

I don't believe that CK was thinking that z was suggesting putting cooking oil in propane tanks.
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Gas_Buddy
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Message Posted: May 30, 2013 5:49:12 PM

I don't believe that ziyulu was suggesting putting cooking oil in propane tanks, but rather that cooking oil could be used as a fuel too (based on multiple discussions topics previously started).

Based on some of the discussion it appears that an unlimited number of check boxes could be added to the Master Station list if the sole criteria is "what each and every member might want". Maybe it's obviously to only me that the propane referred to in the "check box" refers to propane canisters used in bargeque grills (for example) but I view it the same as the check box for phone; some phones accept coins, some accept credit cards. Should there be a further check box for each of those options, or wouldn't it be sufficient to simply put a note in the Station Notes? Does there need to be or should there be a check box for every possible option, rather than a simple Station Note comment?
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CampKohler
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Message Posted: May 30, 2013 5:37:57 PM

Cooking oil is not recommended for filling propane tanks.
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ziyulu
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Message Posted: May 30, 2013 4:38:58 PM

What about cooking oil? That can be used as a fuel as well.
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CampKohler
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Message Posted: May 30, 2013 3:05:59 PM

This is a subject worthy of discussion. I have long felt that the single check box was greatly deficient in meeting users' needs.

There are three propane needs:
1. Replacement of consumer grade tanks with filled and refurbed tanks - RV and trailer heating/cooking, BBQs, repair equipment, etc.
2a. Filling of industrial-grade customer-owned tanks - as above plus motor fuel for lift trucks and the like.
2b. Filling of permanent vehicle fuel tanks - motor fuel.
In my area, the last two are performed by the seller (no self service). There are many of each at gas stations and equipment rental places, and some do both.

If you have one need, it may be totally irrelevant that the seller can meet another. Generally they won't refill consumer-grade tanks which need per-fill inspect, testing and repair; they only refill industrial-grade tanks with long times between certifications (I don't know how this works for built-in vehicle tanks, but it must be something similar). Thus there needs to be two check boxes for propane. Until there is, after the box is checked, the MSL Station Notes may be annotated as follows:
"Propane tank exchange - Yes/No
Propane tank refill - Yes/No"
The latter line could be noted with hours of availability if refill is not available during station operation. This tells the user everything he needs to know to get out of his pickle. Pricing is not much of a concern for one-off purchases—if you need it, you need it. It would be important for repeat motor fuel purchases, but one soon learns where to go in one's own area.
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plastic
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: May 30, 2013 10:35:41 AM

>"Aware and had the need are not the same thing."

Scout, I misread your question and responded in kind. My apologies.

--
>"Last time I was involved in this discussion, we didn't resolve it, and we never got a ruling from the mods. How certain are you that the discussion you participated in was the official one?"

Kwzh, I don't know about the "official" one but it was the first discussion of it with GM. True, there never was a resolution to the discussion but the general intent was for pumped propane. If the majority of users consider it to include bottle exhange, as I think maxstar was indicating, then I agree with scoutmaster that it probably should mean any form of propane.

[Edited by: plastic at 5/30/2013 10:36:49 AM EST]
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scoutmaster
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Message Posted: May 30, 2013 6:46:57 AM

I have always thought it meant the station sold propane regardless of how. And I'm not sure it makes a difference since this is just a feature of the station like an air pump or an ATM or any other feature.
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DavisSta
All-Star Author San Francisco

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Message Posted: May 30, 2013 3:40:39 AM

So far the responses seem to be confirming my observation that different members are interpreting the propane checkbox differently.

My practice recently has been to check the propane box if either sale by the gallon or tank exchange is available, but I add a comment to the station notes indicating which type of propane service the station has, out of a recognition that the meaning is otherwise unclear. I recently added such information to a station that has prefilled cylinders only, and a member who often edits California MSL entries unchecked the propane box, presumably after reading my comment. (However, I have noticed in the past that this member's MSL style does not always conform to accepted norms. For example, at one time he was systematically unchecking the Pay at Pump boxes for all ARCO stations with PayQuick, even though the consensus was that such stations should be considered pay at pump for MSL purposes.)

In the back of my mind I have a vague recollection of what plastic is saying, that when the MSL was developed the intention of some was to have that box indicate propane sales by the gallon. On the other hand, without some wording in the MSL to indicate that intent, I think that members who never read or do not recall the original discussion will tend to interpret the checkbox as "does this station sell propane (in any way, shape, or form)?"

Also, I apologize for my wording "allowing you to fill your own tank" in the original post. It appears I should have said "filling your own tank for you". I never buy propane myself, so am not too familiar with the process.

[Edited by: DavisSta at 5/30/2013 3:44:44 AM EST]
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: May 30, 2013 3:01:15 AM

plastic writes,
> You're right that it is not clear. Even a seasoned vet, kwzh, didn't know. This might need to be clarified.

Last time I was involved in this discussion, we didn't resolve it, and we never got a ruling from the mods. How certain are you that the discussion you participated in was the official one?
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: May 29, 2013 9:03:48 PM

Plastic,

I have had the need and every time I have had a tank refilled, it was done by the attendant. Aware and had the need are not the same thing.
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maxstar
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Message Posted: May 29, 2013 6:27:22 PM

Original intent or not I do not think that station feature I would guess that the vast majority of the time it is used for propane exchange.
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plastic
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: May 29, 2013 6:15:14 PM

The original intent was for propane vehicles or RVs with on-board tanks to find the best price on propane but since those prices are rarely posted, I think GB just decided on a check box. I don't know for certain if that is supposed to include 5-gal bottle exchanges or not. Then again, if kersene is listed then it would make sense to allow the exchange bottles. Even if they sell it by the gallon, someone can take their BBQ bottle there to be refilled. It's cheaper than exchanging anyway.
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maxstar
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Message Posted: May 29, 2013 6:08:00 PM

I know of only one station that actually refills propane tanks of the "Propane Grill" type size. All others exchange pre-filled tanks and I would guess the vast majority of stations that have the propane feature checked only exchange the tanks. The confusion is probably caused by the icon used by GasBuddy. Rather than show the silhouette of a propane tank (which would better imply tank exchange) the current icon used looks more like a fuel pump (which implies a refill type station).
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Gas_Buddy
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Message Posted: May 29, 2013 5:52:45 PM

Perhaps I'm naive, but if the box is checked by a member to indicate propane is sold, and like the majority of people I would assume it refers to large propane canisters (not small hand-held size or self-dispensers), a member can add a comment in the station nots as to any specifics, just as the notes could indicate a station has a seating area for food buyers, or free or paid wifi availability.

What I think is you want to avoid an inordinate amount of check boxes that could end up being even more confusing. Simply adding, in the station notes, "Station sells quart size propane containers...exchanges propane tanks, has gas/diesel type propane dispensers, has kerosene dispensers, etc." is more useful/more explanatory. In my opinion.
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plastic
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: May 29, 2013 9:35:04 AM

Scout, if you were aware (ie. had the need) then you would know how to do it. Most states (I think all now) don't have self serve propane any more. It's all pumped by the attendant.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: May 29, 2013 9:32:30 AM

I'm not aware of any place that refills propane tanks that lets you pump your own. Pumping propane is trickier than pumping vehicle fuel.
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plastic
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: May 29, 2013 9:22:58 AM

When the idea for adding propane as a check box was discussed, it was meant only for places that sell propane by the gallon. It was not meant to reflect the propane bottle shelf product.

You're right that it is not clear. Even a seasoned vet, kwzh, didn't know. This might need to be clarified.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: May 29, 2013 7:34:34 AM

I've been using that box for prefilled cylinders; I'm actually not aware of any stations around here that let you pump the stuff.
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