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Why Do the Obamas Need a 2,500-Gallon Propane Tank at Their Martha’s Vineyard Estate? It’s Not What You Think

Recently, a small notice in the local Martha’s Vineyard Times noted that approval had been granted for a “2,500-gallon commercial propane tank” at the address of the vacation home owned by former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.

The item set off some powerful reactions among the conspiracy-minded and even had us wondering why the Obamas would need that much gas.

The former president’s chief antagonists at Fox News even dedicated a segment to the proposed propane purchase with a chyron that expressed possible apocalyptic intentions.

Apocalypse Bunker
Apocalypse bunker?

Fox News

However, the reality is far less dire. Here’s what we learned after talking to propane gas experts.

Why do the Obamas need a 2,500-gallon propane tank?

Actually, they don’t. The permit the Obamas requested is for three separate tanks, not a single massive tank, according to Snopes.

This means that for the nearly 30-acre property in Edgartown, MA, those tanks might be spread out and used for more than one structure, or for multiple uses.

Also, their request might exceed what they actually end up installing. The announcement in the local news noted that the “private-residence propane tank is typically a fraction of the quantity being requested.”

As for the mansion on the property, there is plenty of need for power.

The Obamas purchased the property from Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck in 2019 for $11.8 million. At the time, the nearly 7,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom mansion came with a chef’s kitchen, multiple fireplaces, two guest wings, as well as a main bedroom with a fireplace and private sundeck.

The photos below show how the mansion appeared prior to the Obamas’ purchase.

Living room with a fireplace

Chef’s kitchen


Bedroom suite

The picturesque property is situated on Edgartown Great Pond and comes with a pool, hot tub, barn, boat house, outdoor shower, and two-car garage.

Deck with a hot tub


The former president also has fuel needs beyond what you’d see with a regular single-family home.

The Obamas must account for any power consumed by their Secret Service detail, who are likely set up in a separate facility on the scenic grounds.

And then there’s the need to supply fuel for sumptuous outdoor living, which includes the heated pool, hot tub, any outdoor fire pits, and the barbecue.

The Obamas’ 30-acre property

Could the Obamas be preppers?

Well, if by “preppers” you mean being prepared for a lot of house guests, then yes.

But the tank size didn’t strike propane experts as uncommon for a property with multiple buildings with indoor and outdoor gas needs.

“Given the size of the property, we have several accounts that have that exact configuration,” says Rich Muellerleile, president and owner of Star Gas Products, which services the Hudson Valley area of New York.

Some of his high-end clients have even exceeded the Obamas when it comes to propane procurement, Muellerleile says. “They’ll have two, three, four 1,000-gallon tanks for their house. And then they’ll have a separate tank for the generator or a separate tank for the pool heater.”

The former president had made plans last year for a 60th birthday bash with an invite list in the hundreds. Although that bash was ultimately scrapped for a smaller affair, the Martha’s Vineyard home must be prepared for future parties.

So what could they be using all that gas for?

The proposed three tanks might be powering everything from the water heater to the kitchen stove, and indoor heat as well as gas fireplaces. Then there’s the outdoor grill, fire pits, and heated pool and spa.

There’s probably enough propane to accommodate a generator as a backup power source. If that’s the case, the Obamas aren’t alone in having this foresight.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a “huge uptick” of interest in the industry, says Bryan Cordill, director of residential and commercial development for the Propane Education Research Council.

Cordill was also clear on one other factor. Employing a backup generator powered by propane makes sense, especially in a region prone to severe weather.

“The grid has increasingly become unstable, and we’ve seen increasingly more backup generators installed.”

Is propane a green choice?

The Obamas also faced criticism that they didn’t opt for an eco-friendly power source like, say, solar panels.

But with propane, the homeowners are making “a climate-favorable decision” says Cordill.

“Propane is cleaner than grid electricity in many states, including Massachusetts. Using propane to fuel energy-dense applications in homes produces fewer emissions than if they had been powered by electricity.”

Any heat the Obamas are receiving for their choice in fuel is misplaced, he adds.

“The exciting news is that, while Massachusetts has added intermittent renewable solar resources to its electric grid, we have seen renewable propane delivered into New England, lowering emissions even further,” Cordill says. “Clean and renewable energy like propane accelerates decarbonization today and into the future.”

The post Why Do the Obamas Need a 2,500-Gallon Propane Tank at Their Martha’s Vineyard Estate? It’s Not What You Think  appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

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