Most campers and travellers take along an LPG bottle or 2 for a happy time on the road. Mainly for cooking and running 3-way fridges or perhaps to heat water for showers. Most of us can’t live without LPG. I know we can’t.
Generally LPG is fairly cheap and i personally would consider it a fairly economical fuel source, but it has amazed me just how much the price of refilling a 9kg gas bottle can vary amongst retailers around Oz.
There are a few things to consider I guess, like geographical location (remoteness), how expensive is transport/delivery of the LPG to the retailer, the current cost of LPG from the wholesaler and the “required” mark-up upon sale in order for the shop owner to feed his kids.
Large retailers such as BCF etc can afford to heavily discount their LPG refills in order to drive customers into their store- kind of like Woolworths and Coles discounting milk and bread! This is great for the consumer and we try to refill our tanks where we can get the best deal.
But, there are times where we need a refill and we have little choice or have few options available- mainly in smaller towns. We love sharing our money and supporting small business and don’t mind paying a small premium on things knowing it’s helping a family business keep food on the table.
But whats a fair price to pay? How much can one expect to pay?
We recently refilled our LPG bottles in a small NSW town where there were only 2 retailers who did refills.
The first place charged $5.25 per kg (9kg= $47.25)- ouch!
The second place was $3.35 per kg (9kg =$30.15)- much better. Still around $10 more than BCF but under the circumstances and keeping in mind our location we thought that was quite reasonable. Of course we chose this one.
It got us thinking about why there is such a price difference and what would be a “general” acceptable price for a 9kg LPG refill?
Thinking back over the past 3 years on the road, we have paid anywhere from $15 to $55 for a 9kg bottle. Admittedly we have had to refill in some pretty remote areas out of necessity or because of poor forward planning. Everything is relative, just like the price difference in petrol/diesel (but we wont go there). We prefer to use home hardware or small camping stores where possible- we just like the friendly feel of these places (again, knowing we are supporting a small business).
We would be interested to hear your thoughts about the price differences/variances or perhaps the cheapest or dearest you have paid for a refill? Or perhaps you would like to share your opinion on LPG refills vs “swap & go” systems?
Feel free to use the comments below!