Fire and Rescue Services Capt. Gabe Roder says the explosion was triggered when the car owner, a plumber who had stored the tank in his vehicle, used a remote key fob to unlock the car door.
The resulting fireball shredded the vehicle and hurled debris more than 300 feet, with the car's hood suspended high in a tree while the windshield was tossed half a block in the opposite direction.
The car owner is unhurt and two men in a passing vehicle suffered only minor cuts from flying glass.
Police say windows were shattered in surrounding apartments up to 12 stories above the explosion and debris was found inside some suites, but no one else was hurt and no other major damage is reported.
Vancouver Police Const. Brian Montague says the cause is accidental and charges are not likely to be recommended.