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How Much Propane Do Food Trucks Use?

The amount of Propane a Food Truck will use will always depend on the food truck appliances, menu, and propane tank size. Do you run a food truck and you want to make a budget for propane usage? If YES, here is a simple way to estimate the quantity of propane food trucks use.

Aside finding out the specifications of your truck and appliances in terms of electrical concerns, the quantity of propane you will need for your vehicle is also a key concern for any food truck owner; otherwise you might have to face the risk of running out of power at the worst possible time.

Let’s say for instance you have thirty customers waiting in line for one of your amazing delicacies, but due to your propane miscalculation, suddenly, the whole thing goes into shutdown and you are left with explaining to your customers why you can no longer offer them services.

This is bad for business and will surely dent your business image. That is the more reason why every food truck owner is expected to know the quantity of Propane their truck use.

Estimated Amount of Propane Consumed By a Food Truck

The amount of Propane a Food Truck will use will always depend on the food truck’s appliances, menu, and propane tank size. A Propane tank has an approximate BTU capacity that you can use in collaboration with the combination of individual appliances BTU rating to know how long a full propane tank will power your truck.

Have it in mind that any appliances BTU rating assumes that the appliance is running at 100 percent, such as a gas grill running with all burners set on “high” or a water heater set at its maximum temperature setting.

The very first step is to understand and measure your propane tank’s height and diameter to know its size. Note that the height should be measured with the tank standing on its bottom, from the floor to the base of the propane tank collar.

The propane tank collar is simply the raised piece surrounding the tank valve. You should also measure the diameter at the widest point by running your measuring tape around the tank.

In the United States, a typical 20 lb. tank is 18 inches high and has a diameter of 12.5 inches. A 30 lb. tank is 24 inches high and has a diameter of 12.5 inches. A 40 lb. tank is 29 inches high and has a diameter of 12.5 inches. A 100 lb. tank is 48 inches high and has a diameter of 14.5 inches.

With these figures you can now use your propane tank size to determine its BTU capacity when full: 20 lb. propane tank has a 430,270 BTU capacity, 30 lb. propane tank has a 649,980 BTU capacity, 40 lb. propane tank has an 860,542 BTU capacity, and 100 lb. propane tank has a 2,160,509 BTU capacity.

After understanding the capacity of your Propane tank, the next endeavor would be to locate all of the propane using appliance BTU ratings. The BTU rating for each appliance will be found on the appliance itself or in the owner’s manual.

By putting together all of the appliance BTU ratings and leveraging a calculator to divide your propane tank’s BTUs (if your truck has multiple tanks, add these numbers up first) by the total appliance BTU rating, you can easily determine how many hours your propane tank(s) will be able to power the appliances in your food truck at 100 percent.


Since every food truck is different and uses several kinds of different appliances and devices, standard numbers for this don’t exist. However, if you want to get a general idea of how much it will take for your truck in specific, you can look up each individual device you will need.

Finally, pay attention to the laws and guidelines of each place you’re in, because it may require specific security measures.