Bullets Fired at Propane Tank to Prove Safety

A police officer armed with a high-powered rifle takes aim at a full propane tank. Though his bullet pierced the tank it did not explode. (image: king5.com)

Armed police officers fired live ammunition at a full propane tank in a demonstration to prove the clean-burning energy source is safe, king5.com reports.

Californian-based Blue Star Gas showed footage of the controlled weapons stunt last week as part of a road show to promote the use of propane autogas by the nation’s commercial vehicle fleets.

More than 17 million vehicles worldwide run on propane, Blue Star president Jeff Steward said. Propane autogas was about $1 a gallon cheaper than gasoline. It also produced far fewer harmful greenhouse gases and particulate emissions that could damage the environment and pose a risk to human health.

Propane is also produced in abundance domestically here in the US, meaning it cuts America’s reliance on oil imports from unstable countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South America.

Addressing fleet managers at Seattle’s McKinstry Innovation Center last week to espouse the many benefits of the liquid petroleum gas and alternative fuels, Stewart also commented on concerns that propane tanks were potentially explosive.

When a vehicle is converted to run on propane, a compact propane tank is fitted snuggly in the vehicle’s trunk. Though propane itself is flammable, it is perfectly safe when used with properly maintained equipment.

Blue Gas videotaped police officers shooting the tanks repeatedly with small arms without penetrating them. When they eventually used a high-powered rifle to blow a hole in a tank, it did not explode. The gas simply whistled free from the tank through the bullet hole.

Stewart said propane had become the third most widely used vehicle fuel on the planet. Despite this, private US motorists have been slow to catch on to the many benefits it offered and it is mainly used here by commercial fleets.

With volatile gasoline prices, switching to propane made commercial sense for large fleets. Though it costs about $6000 to convert a vehicle to run on propane autogas, the money will soon be recouped through fuel savings and when the car wears out, the propane system can be removed and installed in another vehicle.

“Autogas is the smartest alternative fuel for light- to medium-duty fleets because it’s clean-burning, affordable and made in America,” Stewart said. “This really is the most readily available, cost-effective clean fuel solution for US fleets.”