As a long-term helium customer, you likely pay rent on the cylinder(s) you keep on hand. While it's standard practice within the industry, many people who are new to renting helium are unaware of why this rent is collected. In short, there is a distinction between the contents of the cylinder and the cylinder itself. Manufacturers produce substances, but have to purchase cylinders to contain these substances. When full helium cylinders are purchased, one must pay the cost of the helium as well as the cost of the cylinder. This enables the manufacturer to recuperate the cost of the steel (or perhaps aluminum) cylinder. For manufacturer distributors, the up-front cost of the cylinder is waived in lieu of a cylinder rental fee. In other words, the manufacturer still owns the cylinder, but is renting the cylinder to the distributor and only actually selling the helium to the distributor. This is why, in cases of long-term helium rentals, rent is also charged to the distributor'
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