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How Many Forklift Cylinders Do You Need?

When AmeriGas sets up a new customer for forklift propane service, we want to make sure you’ll always have enough fuel to keep your lift trucks running.  A big part of this is correctly determining the number of cylinders you’ll need, taking into account your total consumption, the number of delivery routes we have in your area, and allowing for some spare cylinders in times when your business ramps up.  We’ll walk you through the simple calculation behind our estimate for cylinders we do to make sure you’ll always have propane fuel.  First, some definitions:

  • Routes Available Per Week – This is the number of delivery truck routes that are available to serve your location(s).  AmeriGas is proud to offer the largest propane delivery fleet in the industry to our customers with over 2,500 bobtails and 2,000 service trucks.
  • Number Of Deliveries Per Week – The number of times you will receive a delivery each week.  Obviously, this will be based on the total number of routes available in your area and your preferences for how often you would like us to deliver.
  • Spare Inventory – This is the amount of additional cylinders we provide above the regular amount for delivery.  This helps ensure you’ll have at least a little bit more in cases where you need it, like running an additional shift, or peak/busy times.  However, when instances like these come up, even with some spare cylinders, we always recommend that you call your local AmeriGas office to request an additional delivery.


So how does it all come together?  Consider the following calculation to determine the number of cylinders you’ll need delivered per delivery stop:

               Annual Propane Usage [gallons]

/              52 weeks

=             Weekly Propane Usage [gallons]

/              7.9 gallons / 33 lb. cylinder (adjust for other size cylinders)

=             Total Cylinders Per Week

/              Number of Deliveries Per Week (considering Routes Available Per Week)

=             Number of Cylinders Delivered Per Delivery


Now we can add in the spare inventory calculation to come up with the total number of cylinders you’ll need on hand.  This calculation depends on a spare (overage) factor we use based on our experience with customer around the country.


Number of Cylinders Delivered Per Delivery Spare Inventory Factor
1 to 10 1.3
11 to 30 1.2
31 and up 1.15


Number of Cylinders Delivered Per Delivery

+             Total Number of Forklifts

=             Spare Inventory Base

x              Spare Inventory Factor

=             Total Cylinders Needed


Putting everything into a real world example for a business that uses 10,000 gallons per year with 5 forklifts:


               10,000 [gallons]

/              52 weeks

=             192 [gallons]

/              7.9 gallons / 33 lb. cylinder (adjust for other size cylinders)

=             24 Cylinders Per Week

/              2 Deliveries Per Week (considering 5 Routes Available Per Week)

=             12 Cylinders Delivered Per Delivery


12 Cylinders Delivered Per Delivery

+             5 Total Forklifts on Site

=             17 [Spare Inventory Base]

x              1.2 [Spare Inventory Factor]

=             21 Total Cylinders Needed


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