Didn’t Eric Clapton write a song about this?

Propane lacked odor. Massachusetts AG investigates fatal propane explosion – no one noticed an odor before it blew up. Two points: I once met a girl (not from Nantucket) who was fabulously wealthy because her father’s family had a monopoly on whatever chemical they add to to natural gas and, presumably, propane, that gives it the distinctive, tell-tale odor, and my older brother’s rental house in the back country burned up when some idiot filler-upper-guy screwed up.

So, I don’t like porpane, but I do admire niche marketers.


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10 responses to “Didn’t Eric Clapton write a song about this?

  1. West

    The chemicals put in gas fuels are of the class mercaptans. They are sulphur based, and can be smelled in concentrations of only several (1-3) parts per billion.

    Add up all the fuel gases used here in the US, divide by 300,000 or so, and calculate those royalty checks! Not bad.

    Damn free enterprise.

  2. Behind the Library

    Mercaptans, I think they’re called.

  3. john


    I work in the Natural Gas industry, the smelly chemical is called mercaptin and all the gas companies buy it in bulk to odorize their product. A little goes a long way. Whenever there is a labor/management issue with any of the local distribution companies, like Yankee Gas, the first thing that happens is the mercaptin tanks are put under heavy security, a shot glass full would render an office building uninhabitable for years…

  4. Anonymous

    The odorant added to natural gas is so powerful that it, in its pure state, might be considered a deadly weapon.

    From wikipedia:

    “Butanethiol, also known as butyl mercaptan, is a volatile, clear to yellowish liquid with a fetid (extremely foul-smelling) odor, commonly described as “skunk” odor. In fact, butanethiol is structurally similar to several major constituents of a skunk’s defensive spray. The scent of butanethiol is so strong that the human nose can easily detect it in the air at concentrations as low as 10 parts per billion.”

  5. Anonymous

    OK, CF, I’ll bite: so what’s the song?

  6. Fred2

    There’s a funny song parody in there.

  7. Mr. 85 Broad St.

    If it could be truly funny, Weird Al Yankovic would have done it by now. Besides, what could top “I Lost on Jeopardy”?

  8. Old School Grump

    CF at 6:43: Eric Clapton made it famous, but it was written by JJ Cale.