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Thread: Price of argon

  1. #1
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Price of argon

    I'm curious what you guys are paying for pure argon in your area. I have been using Airgas and the price just keeps going up and up. I own two 125CF cylinders and exchange them alternately when one runs out. I went in a week ago Thursday with an empty cylinder and they didn't have any 125CF pure argon but I left my empty cylinder with them. They told me they should have some Friday but I forgot to go down because I got busy. On Monday, I drove down and they told me they still didn't have any. I was getting pretty pissed because my second cylinder was almost empty at this point. I went ahead and picked up some TIG rod while I was there. I waited until Friday and called because I had to have some argon or we couldn't work over the weekend. Finally, over a week later, they said they had one set aside for me.

    So I went and picked it up. It was almost $100 out the door with their bullshit hazmat fee and taxes. I got home and looked at the receipt for my TIG rod and it has a hazmat fee on it too. THIS IS MILD STEEL TIG ROD (ER70S-6)!

    I originally had 150CF cylinders but Airgas consolidated all of their 125s and 150s into one SKU. I try to get 150s but they keep telling me that they hold the same amount of gas. BS. They fill them to the same pressure and I am smart enough to know that a larger cylinder at the same pressure holds more gas.

    Anyhow, I'm paying $79.76 for the gas, $13.69 for the hazmat fee, and the rest is taxes. Total is $96.91. The 10 pounds of TIG rod is $31.40 and the hazmat fee is $7.69. Total with taxes is $40.54.
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  2. #2
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    Holy cow! I knew helium had gotten expensive but hadn't heard anything about argon, and I haven't bought any in a while. Seems like last time it was $25-30 for a 125CF bottle. Does argon come from underground (like helium) or from liquefying air and separating it?

  3. #3
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    I'll answer my own question regarding the source of commercial argon. It is indeed from liquefying air and "distilling" the components. On the other hand, helium, another welding gas, is extracted from natural gas, and it must be natural gas that has a high helium content. Much of the natural gas with a high helium content, which in the US comes from gas fields in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and adjacent areas of Kansas, has been apparently somewhat depleted. But my quick google search did not explain this well. After all, it has become much easier to find and extract natural gas with the fracking boom.

    But this doesn't apply to argon, there's no real good reason for a price hike as there's no shortage.

    So there must be another reason for the price increase, and of course it could be political and local to CO.

  4. #4
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    I buy anywhere from 5-10 bottles of argon a year from Airgas. Although that's not a huge account, it's bigger than a lot of them since I'm only operating a part-time small business. The price has gone up steadily since they gave me a "contract rate" after I complained about the price a couple years ago.

    Right around the corner from Airgas is General Air. I'm going to stop in there and talk to them about pricing, and if they charge this bogus hazmat fee. The problem is my bottles are all Airgas and I don't know if they'll handle them. Argon is an inert gas, and there's nothing remotely toxic about steel welding rod. I've read guys complaining that they're charging a hazmat fee for gloves and welding helmets. I guess they just consider it another tax.

    When I bought my Miller 210 MIG a couple years ago I gave Airgas a chance to quote me their best price. I found one on Ebay $200 less including shipping and taxes. I don't know what the hazmat fee was. LOL.
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  5. #5
    Administrator 567chevys's Avatar
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    I pay $50.00 for a Bottle Full 300 CF of Argon

    Sid

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  6. #6
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 567chevys View Post
    I pay $50.00 for a Bottle Full 300 CF of Argon Sid
    Holy cow! Is that for your business or personal use? If you use a lot I imagine you get a good deal. Do they charge a hazmat fee? I think I'm getting screwed.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension

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  7. #7
    Registered Member WagonCrazy's Avatar
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    Laszlo, just make a run over to WA and pick up a few bottles from Sid.
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  8. #8
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    If I recall a med size bottle of 75% CO2, 25% Argon was about $80 plus BS fee and tax at Prax Air.

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