In DOT HazMat, Hazardous Waste

Table of Contents

  1. Following Propane Transportation Limits
  2. Transporting Propane in Different Vehicles
  3. Transporting Propane Tanks in Cars or Other Enclosed Vehicles
  4. Transporting Propane Tanks in Trucks
  5. Do’s and Don’ts of Propane Tank Transportation

Propane is a staple in many people’s lives. From heating homes and powering generators to firing up the grill on a Sunday afternoon, propane is a necessity for people to live and enjoy themselves. A regular aspect of using propane is refilling tanks and transporting them in a vehicle.

Proper transportation of propane tanks is crucial to your safety and the safety of surrounding individuals. But with many different tank sizes and propane tank transportation laws to keep track of, you have many aspects to keep in mind. Use this guide to simplify the rules and learn to transport full propane tanks legally and safely.

Following Propane Transportation Limits

There are limits on how much propane you can transport at a time. These rules exist to protect you from harm if an accident occurs. Following these guidelines gives you the best chance for safety as you move your full propane tanks from the fill station back to your home or business. Those not in commerce (e.g. householders) are not subject to DOT regulations. Businesses, on the other hand, can transport propane under the “Materials of Trade” (MOT) exception. When 440 lbs have been exceeded (for businesses), however, the load is fully regulated.

Propane transportation limits change depending on the type of vehicle you drive. Common vehicles for transporting propane usually fall under one of the following two categories:

  • Enclosed vehicles: Enclosed vehicles include sedans, coupes, SUVs and midsize automobiles with closed roofs. These vehicles are a common means of transportation, but strict laws dictate how much propane you can carry within them. These vehicles’ closed structures allow for different risks, creating the need for stricter regulations.
  • Open trailers or pickup trucks: Transporting propane tanks in truck beds or open trailers is subject to its own set of laws and restrictions. Since the tanks are in the open air in these instances, you can transport more propane per trip. Make sure you’re following the right transportation procedures, though — more on that later.

Here is all the information you need on propane transportation limits:

  • Amount for closed automobiles: You can transport up to four propane cylinders in an enclosed vehicle.
  • Propane weight: The total weight of propane transported in an enclosed vehicle must stay within 90 pounds.
  • Cylinder weight: Any cylinder in an enclosed vehicle must stay within a 45-pound limit.
  • Propane tank sizes: The sizes of the propane tanks in an enclosed vehicle can differ, but the total propane weight must stay within 90 pounds.
  • Amount for open trailers and trucks: You can transport up to 1,000 pounds of propane in the back of a pickup truck or exposed trailer. These options are the best for transporting tanks over 90 pounds or many tanks at once.

Transporting Propane in Different Vehicles

You’ll need to follow certain practices for moving propane depending on the type of vehicle you’ll be driving. Here are some tips to help you stay legal and safe, whether you’re driving an enclosed vehicle or a pickup truck.

Transporting Propane Tanks in Cars or Other Enclosed Vehicles

Here are some tips for transporting your propane tanks in a car or other type of enclosed vehicle:

  • Always keep your propane tank in the upright vertical position.
  • Use a milk crate or tank stabilizer to keep the tank from tipping over during transportation.
  • You can also safely wedge a propane tank between the front and rear seats. Make sure the fit is tight enough to keep it stable over every bump in the road.
  • If your back seat is full, you can store your propane tank in the trunk. The same rules of tank stabilization still apply.
  • Use bungee cords or rope for extra security when transporting propane tanks in your enclosed vehicle.

Transporting Propane Tanks in Trucks

Transporting Propane Tanks in Trucks

Trucks offer some advantages over closed vehicles when transporting propane tanks, but make sure you’re following the right protocol. Here are some tips for transporting propane tanks in trucks or in an open trailer bed:

  • Thanks to the increased weight limit with pickup trucks — up to 1,000 pounds — you can transport more and larger tanks. Such containers include the popular 50-pound and 100-pound propane tanks.
  • One-hundred-pound propane tanks are extremely heavy, so always have a second person available to help you lift one into your truck.
  • Tanks must be in the upright vertical position at all times.
  • Tanks should be securely strapped to the truck using ratchet straps or ropes and a strong anchor point.

Do’s and Don’ts of Propane Tank Transportation

Sometimes, a list of do’s and don’ts is easier to remember than a long list of rules and regulations. Use these tips to help you follow the Department of Transportation (DOT) propane tank rules.

When transporting propane tanks, do:

  • Secure them: Secure the tank in the vertical position, keeping it upright.
  • Provide ventilation: Place the propane cylinder in a well-ventilated area of your enclosed vehicle. Crack the window to help with ventilation.
  • Close the valves: Close the tank’s valve before transportation.
  • Head straight to your destination: Proceed to your destination right away. Keeping a propane tank in your vehicle for an extended period will put you at an increased risk of unsafe conditions.
  • Remove the tanks immediately: Unload the propane tank from your vehicle upon arrival at your destination.

When transporting propane tanks, don’t:

  • Keep them on their side: Don’t drive away with the propane tank on its side. It’s too dangerous to travel this way, so take a few moments to make sure the container is secure.
  • Exceed the amount: Don’t transport more than four propane tanks in an enclosed vehicle.
  • Exceed the weight: Don’t transport more than 90 pounds of total propane weight in an enclosed vehicle. Similarly, avoid transporting more than 1,000 pounds of total propane weight in a pickup truck bed or open trailer bed.
  • Smoke cigarettes: Don’t smoke in your vehicle while transporting propane tanks. Doing this poses a high risk of fire or explosion, especially if one of the propane valves is left open.
  • Leave propane unattended: Avoid leaving propane tanks inside a vehicle. Open your windows if you need to leave for a brief period, but make every effort to remove the tanks from your vehicle at the earliest opportunity.

Contact Hazmat School for More Information About Safety Compliance

Contact Hazmat School for More Information About Safety Compliance

For business owners, safety compliance is key to keeping yourself and your employees safer throughout your operations. For the individual, knowing how to handle yourself in various safety situations can help boost your resume and raise your hiring chances. When you want to learn more about safety compliance, Hazmat School is the company for you.

We offer many training courses online so you can gain certifications in several areas across different industries. Let us help you take your next step toward safety compliance.


Contact the DOT Hotline for more information on transporting propane tanks. They will be able to help you reach your career and safety goals and answer any questions you may have regarding the limits you can transport and when you would be required to have DOT training.

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