When you’re road tripping on a budget, every dollar counts, so finding somewhere nearby to get your gas bottles filled at the lowest price is always a bonus. As you know, the price of LPG Gas Bottle Refills varies significantly from under $20 for a 9kg bottle refill to over $50. And the price difference for smaller bottles, such as 4.5kg, can be even greater. So it’s worth doing a bit of research.
Bottle swap services have become very popular in recent years and definitely offer a quick and simple solution.
However there can be annoying drawbacks with swaps . . .
- Not all gas bottles are the same size. You may prefer to swap for convenience sake, but if yours are taller/shorter or fatter/thinner than those in the cage, they won’t fit the holder on your R/V.
- You may have a gauge on your bottle which can’t easily be removed and swapped to the new bottle.
- Finally, unless you carefully check, the bottle you are sold may be close to, or worse still, out of, its 10 year expiry date. Gas companies claim this cannot happen, but we know it can and does happen.
So there are good reasons to find a well-priced refill service rather than a bottle swap option.
And thankfully, someone has done something about it.
A new website called ‘Gas Bottle Refills’ (www.gasbottlerefills.com) has just been launched as an extension of what was originally a Facebook group.
The website makes it easy to find nearby refill services on Google maps based on your location. In most cases, prices listed as well … prices like $12.95 for a 9kg refill at Deniliquin NSW.
This service was set up by grey nomads, Gordon and Barbara Campbell.
They began touring Australia in 2010 in a caravan. But when Gordon had a stroke in 2012 they switched to a new motorhome.
It came fitted with two top quality 9kg gas bottles which fueled their cooking appliances (an inside cooktop and an outside bbq), hot water service, and refrigerator.
Their first major trip was from home base in Port Macquarie on the mid North Coast of NSW to Western Australia on a wildflower photography expedition.
That journey took seven months. They had no idea how much gas they would use, where they would refill, or how much they would pay.
What they DID know was, they weren’t exchanging their nice, shiny-new, gas bottles for the crappy-looking ‘rubbish’ they saw at some ‘Swap and Go’ (S&G) locations!
So by the time they returned home, they had refilled five times at an average cost of $36.00 per refill.
That’s when Gordon decided there HAD to be a better way!
In January 2015, he set up a Facebook group named “BBQ Gas Bottle Refills – cheapest in Australia?”
He invited fellow grey nomads to report their gas bottle refill (and swap) purchases, and he created a database containing those details for all who joined the group to see.
The idea took off like a rocket!
Collating and entering the data took the Campbells almost 2,000 hours in the first year. But, by the time they were ready for their second sortie … a 17,300 km half-lap of Oz … they had built a very useful, cost-saving tool.
This time, with more than a thousand gas site locations at their fingertips, via their laptop and smart phones, they refilled their 9kg bottles seven times.
Guess what the average cost was?
$19.02 … a huge saving of almost $17.00 per refill!
Another telling fact was revealed during that seven months on the road.
As Gordon Campbell explained to Highway Dreams, “We found that Facebook was not very well regarded by grey nomads, nor was it an ideal medium for a large database like ours”.
“So after a great deal of soul searching, plus weighing up the cost of an app versus a website, we ‘bit the bullet’ and dug into our retirement savings to have a website built. This was launched in May this year.”
“Thanks to the interest of fellow Australian road travel enthusiasts like ‘Highway Dreams’ creator, Anthony Hayden, our website is slowly gaining an online following.
When that following is as substantial as that enjoyed by ‘Highway Dreams’, we may be able to recoup some of our financial outlay from paid advertising”
“But if we don’t …” grinned the almost-80-year-old, “… well, we reckon we’re providing our fellow grey nomads with a worthwhile free service.
Many of them are permanently on the road just surviving on a pension. So, to them, every dollar saved is a little gold nugget found”