Friday, June 2, 2023


Fact or Fiction? Propane gas has no odor

RV blogs, social media groups and You Tube videos have exploded over the past couple of years. Some provide great information, others questionable information and some downright bad information. Can you tell the difference? In this regular column we will post a question based on information we find online. You can then test your RV prowess by seeing how your answer compares with our experts.

Today’s Question

Is the following statement fact or fiction? “Propane gas has no odor.”
*Paraphrased/condensed from (this source)

What do you think?


Dave Helgeson
Dave Helgeson
Dave Helgeson has been around travel trailers his entire life. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership long before the term “RV” had been coined. He has served in every position of an RV dealership with the exception of bookkeeping. Dave served as President of a local chapter of the RVDA (Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association), was on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college and was a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. He and his wife Cheri operated their own RV dealership for many years and for the past 29 years have managed RV shows. Dave presents seminars at RV shows across the country and was referred to as "The foremost expert on boondocking" by the late Gary Bunzer, "The RV Doctor". Dave and his wife are currently on their fifth travel trailer with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications on his own unit.


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Diane McGovern
1 day ago
Reply to  Mike Schwab

Interesting (but sad). Thanks, Mike! Have a good afternoon/evening. 😀 –Diane at

Bill Hitchings
4 days ago

It does not on its own….however an odorant is added to make it detectable…..

Rick W.
11 days ago

A better question is why does there seem to be propane leaking everywhere after I eat chili or White Castle?

Diane McGovern
11 days ago
Reply to  Rick W.

Too funny, Rick! I’m eating a bowl of chili as I’m moderating the most recent comments!😅 Have a good night. 😀 –Diane at

11 days ago

Both. My understanding is that propane gas is odorless, but that the”rotten egg” smell is added to the commercial product so that people can detect it’s presence if there is a leak and avoid striking a flame and blowing themselves up…

11 days ago

ANY propane I’ve used has a smell.

Thelma Thomas
11 days ago

Even though I put that it has an odor, my understanding is that there is an additive used to add an odor for identifying leaks. So in original form, no odor, but commercially it does.

11 days ago

My understanding is that in very low concentration hydrocarbon gases do have a slight odor that are momentarily detectable. However, at higher concentrations the olfactory nerves are deadened to it and the person smells nothing. Therefore a odor is introduced into the gas that remains detectable. Hydrogen sulfide, a byproduct of some oil field production, is quite deadly and non-detectable. If you see a wind sock at an oil field facility stay away or at least upwind.

11 days ago

Propane has no odor. Mercaptan is added to make it smell so we can detect it.

Leslie P
11 days ago

Ethyl Mercaptan is added to create the odor. Propane is made without odor. 1 gallon of the stink is added to 25,000 barrels of propane. It’s powerfully stinky stuff!

Jim Johnson
11 days ago

Propane is undetectable by the human nose. But try to find propane (or natural gas) with a scent additive.

Seann Fox
11 days ago

Capstan is added to give propane an odor.

11 days ago

Yes, it stinks, I smelled it in the car. I don’t think I’d smell it outside.

Primo Rudy's Roadhouse
11 days ago

Instead of asking for the public’s opinion, why don’t you give some infomation for those who may be confused. BTW it’s question that has more than a true/false answer.

Real Patriot
11 days ago

No it doesn’t. There’s only one answer.
Propane has no odor. Nat gas has no odor. That’s why they “perfume” it with mercaptan.

G Smith
11 days ago

It’s a trick question that can be proven wrong no matter how one votes. I did not vote for that reason.

11 days ago
Reply to  G Smith

Me too. What’s the point of a trick question?

Don N
11 days ago
Reply to  Irv

It’s to be sure you are aware of the smell to prevent disasters. That’s why you see blown up RVs and many other disasters.

11 days ago
Reply to  G Smith

You are absolutely correct. My reason for not voting as well.

Gary Broughton
11 days ago

Natural Gas is also Odorless but has an fragrance added like Propane.

Joe Allen
11 days ago

Odor is added to propane gas so we can smell it!

11 days ago
Reply to  Joe Allen

Correct. It’s called stenching in the industry.

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