Propane vs Natural Gas Costs.

I cannot believe how much it costs to heat your house. Last month, our bill almost doubled. I suppose that comes with the unseasonably cold temperatures.

Jessica and I were talking about the price difference between propane (like we had at our old house) and natural gas (like we have at our new house.

Our initial thought was that it should be about the same. But after doing some research, we found that there is a pretty big difference between propane and natural gas.

In order to figure out the cost of propane verses natural gas, I did the following:

  1. I first needed to determine an appropriate conversion between gallons of propane and therms of natural gas. I found a website that listed a rough approximation between therms and gallons of propane:
    100 cubic feet (1 CCF) of natural gas is very nearly 1 therm (0.95 – 1.05, typically, depending on gas analysis). 1 gallon of LPG is about 0.91 therm. (91000 BTU).”
  2. After determining that 1 gallon of Propane = 0.91 therms, I calculated how much one therm equals by doing the by dividing 1 gallon of propane by 0.91 therms. This gives me the solution that 1 Therm = 1.1 Gallons of propane.
  3. Then I looked at our propane and natural gas bills to determine the unit prices for each. For propane, this is $1.49 per gallon. For natural gas, it is $0.80 a therm.
  4. Next I determined a standard measurement to base our calculations on. I chose therms. Since 1 therm = 1.1 Gallons of Propane, we will take 1.1 gallons of propane times $1.49. This will give us an equivalent to the price per therm.
    1.1 * $1.49 = $1.63
  5. We can conclude that, at current market prices (January 1, 2009), natural gas is much cheaper. Currently, $0.80 of natural gas would cost you $1.63 if it was bought in propane.

71 thoughts on “Propane vs Natural Gas Costs.

  1. When you are figuring propane vs. natural gas. It is not just therm vs gallon.

    PROPANE TANK at your home, one time cost to install all gas lines, either one time cost to purchase propane tank or a rental (app. $75yr). The only time you pay for propane is when you have a delivery made. And you are charge a Haz-mat charge when delivered.

    Natural Gas, you pay for gas lines to be ran to your home from the main line (how long of run would that be) but you then have the cost per therm,

    The cost each month for: rental on the meter (on your home), this tax, that tax, add all that up, then add to cost of therm. Then compare to propane.

    Natural Gas, if you only use heat (which means 3-4 months out of the year), the other 8 months you do not cut on your natural gas, you still get a bill each month to pay for the meter, this tax, that tax, etc…

    So when you compare:
    Natural Gas – figure cost per therm, cost per month to have the meter on at your home, this tax, that tax. Figure the amount you pay for natural gas equipment at your home and not even cut your natural gas on during the summer months.

    Propane, installation charges paid at initial set up, if you lease a propane tank (you pay app. $75yr). Maybe 2-3 deliveries a year for residential home that would need to be paid. So there are several months you go without paying a dime for propane.

    1. I don’ know where you live or the size of your house, but for me everything is run on propane: heat, dryer, stove/oven, water heater, & I’m sure I’m forgetting something else. And I have to fill tank every 6 weeks–last winter exceptionally cold & had to fill up every 5 weeks twice. Live in SE MI & house 1750 sq ft. Built in 2000.

      1. How much do you pay a month? I’m thinking of buying a house in PA and it uses propane gas. I don’t have any idea how much it cost. Pls. Help

  2. accually im moving into a custom made home and im going with propane. ive looked at All the ups and downs to both. its just my wife and I. The taxes and fees on a gas bill acually make it worth going propane.

  3. We just received a bill for our propane tank and it says we used almost three hundred gallons last month. We have a hybrid (mostly electric) heat system and tankless gas water heaters. We use an electric clothes dryer. Is this not an extremely high amount of gas usage for us? We have only been here in this home for one winter, but we pay 4-500 a month in electric bills. We are just shocked at our bill. Any insight?

    1. Dear Bonnie: The best way to save on home heating costs is to insulate your home thoroughly. The more you save, the less you have to replace and buy. Insulate attic, walls, and foundation, basement, and seal off any cracks where air can escape. Use double insulated windows, and use air locks around door entrances. I have done all of these things, and can heat my home very economically. The initial investment in insulation pays for itself in one season. Also, look for heating fuel leaks or faulty furnace equipment, bad electric blower motors,etc. Get an electrician to test motors. Be sure all filters are clean and not restricting air flow. And may God bless

  4. @Bonnie

    I would say that it seems high, but a lot of times, it is based on your home’s design, square footage, insulation, etc. I am not an expert on energy usage, but you could try increasing the insulation in your attic. That would probably be the cheapest way to lower your bills.

    Also, I have had friends that used a lot of electricity to power their baseboard heaters.

    One thing that helped them was to talk to the electric company about getting on an “Off Peak” system. This usually allows you to get discounts for the heater electricity. In return, the electric company can shut off the heaters for an hour or two during peak usage times. This helps the electric company balance their power grid usage, and saves you a little money in the process.

    Good luck with the electric bills (they are never fun)!

  5. I’m with Bonnie. I have lived in 5 differents homes in OH, MI, IL GA and now NC. All Natural gas except our current 2600 sq. ft. home in North Carolina. Our home is only 3 years old, well built, (low E windows…ect.) and I have never paid what it is currently costing me to heat my home. So far we have use between 100 and 140 gallons of propane per month at a price of 2.89 (nov) 2.69 (dec) and 2.49 for jan. You can do the math, our bills have been over $300 each month.

    I never paid this much before and I’m in the south now, OK maybe one freezing month each winter in Illinois. I dont know what is going on, no leaks, I’ve checked. I would love some opinions and would tell folks to definitely go natural gas. By the way, where are you getting it for $1.49?

    Thanks for any input.

  6. Thanks for the comment Scott. It is frustrating that heating a house can cost so much. It kind of makes you wish you could live in an always 75-80 degree climate!

    In answer to your question, we were getting propane from our local Farmer’s co-op in Southwestern Minnesota.

  7. Terry, thank you for your calculations. I am renting a house on a ranch in California. The only gas we use is propane for water heater which of course is used year round. It is costing us $600 a year, approximately. Cannot get company we get propane from to give me an accurate breakdown of our cost per gallon and how it relates to natural gas prices. We have a propane wall heater but has leak so we rely on fireplace and portable heaters in the winter time , have electric dryer and electric stove (though we could use propane for them also). Given your calculations I think we will stick with our current program for heat, etc. since the worst electric bill I received was for December at $200.00. Thanks again, Patricia

  8. Hello Terry, Here in northwest Indiana Nipsco rules the gas/eletric game. We have natural gas here at the farm. Our hot water boiler furnace uses NG.Being that i’m frugal and wise I heat our home with corn burners,gravity feed(i never cary corn by hand). Our water is heated by solar/with NG fired tank heater for back-up.Doing the math NG looks cheaper than propane, but in reality its about the same price per therm.Dont forget my friend,propane has OVER twice the btu potetial per 100 cubic foot as NG.Also, now pay attention,I pay an “interstate trasportation and storage charge”. Also a “delivery charge” and state tax, not to mention the “commody charge”. We use on average about 5 therms of NG a month.With propane I can buy the commody at the price I like,and no one but me can ever CUT our supply!! We are going propane. BEST REGARDS

  9. This message is in response to Mr. Peterson’s posting. With all due respect, sir…how can a constant electrical option of 1500 watts (I looked into the specs) be a cheaper option than standard, all-American propane? Please explain how paying per Kilowatt hour for your home heat is actually a better option…because I just can’t see it.

  10. Mr Gibson. – I really don’t care what anyone says. I love my CZ Infrared heater. It works great for us. Even if one would run the heater 24/7 at 1.5 kw/hr for 30 days would be 1080 hours. The national eletcric average is $0.10. A max of $108.00 per month. That was still a savings on our over all fuel bill each month!

  11. No such thing as a one fits all any thing for any body. You must consider that not all propane, heating oil or electric rates are different in different parts of the country. My CZ Infrared heater works great for us, we are quite happy with it.

  12. Good Morning, my name is Garrison Roberts. My wife and I just bought our first home 5 months ago…moving’ up and finally realizing the American Dream. So shortly thereafter we found that it could be very costly during the impending winter to pay the higher propane costs that heating a 1800 sq ft home is…we needed a better solution. So we looked around and found some friends using 2 CZ Infrared 1500P heaters to supplement their home heat. It seemed to do an excellent job in the main areas of their home. So I took the leap of faith and invested in 3 units…they do not disappoint whatsoever. We run our thermostat at a constant 55 F and supplement up to 75 degrees F in our living room, one in our kitchen/dining area, and one in our finished basement that is converted into an office/study. The units perform perfectly and we set them to delay start about 45 minutes prior to coming home for an even, comfortable heat. I run our 3 units for about 12 hours per day for the cost of $1.58 per day or less than $50.00 per month in electrical cost per unit. It has saved us hundreds in potential propane costs this heating season already. I am so glad that I took the leap of faith and decided to choose Infrared heat to keep my new home comfy and warm. Thank you, CZ Infrared.

  13. Eletric heat is superior for ‘spot heating’ but EVERYONE knows eletric heating IS the most EXPENSIVE ! Am i wrong, arn’t we all tryin to save some coin?FACT: we heat 3,200 square feet to 75 degrees when the temp outside is in the teens….even below O! Price;2 bushels of shelled corn @ 3.49 locked in dollars a day.come on people of this great nation,wise up! We heat our WHOLE house with less than 100 bushels of corn per year!!!COME ON AMERICA……..WISE UP. Less than $349 a year…the WHOLE house 32,00 SQ. FT. No wonder america is bankrupt… we are giving it away. Whats next…………OUR SOULS! GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

  14. In response to Mr. Roberts, the only issue I can see with your assertions is that I fail to see how a space heater can effectively heat an area of this magnitude comfortably or efficiently. Please explain to me how this unit can be as efficient as a standard central heat system. Thank you for your time.

  15. Brad, Of course it will be cheaper to heat just one small area versus the whole house!!!

    I have saved a bundle on my overall winter heating bill even tho my electric has gone up. As with any purchase be a PROACTIVE CONSUMER! Do your homework – find out your electric rate and make your own
    calculations on the cost to run. Get a receipt! Know the name address and phone number of who you make your purchase from. It’s up to you to make the final decision.

    The best value would be to purchase directly from the manufacturer (if you live in the U.S.) at

  16. What gets me cooking , ( as in blood pressure ) is when you rent a home starting in October last year and you just receive your final propane gas bill and your landlords are making you pay for a fill on the tank from August , of almost 500.00 !!! HELLO does anyone see something wrong with this picture here??? YEA didn’t move in until , October? ,, and is it really possible to have the tank filled for over 200 gallons of propane a month ??? When the only thing on propane in the house is the furnace?? Everything else is run off of electric. … and the bill every single month is 400 to 500 dollars a MONTH….. Someone out there please help me here….

  17. Some one told me that propane burns twice as hot as natural gas. Is this true? They also told me that it takes twice as much natural gas to do what propane does. Is this true?

  18. @John

    I would checkout this link. They explain how propane is made.

    It appears that propane is usually extracted from natural gas. The biggest advantage of propane is it’s purity (natural gas contains a mix of gases), and it’s ability to liquefy under low pressure (increasing portability).

    My understanding is that the extra processing that takes place in propane also makes it more expensive.


  20. I don’t care what your comparisons are, natural gas is much cheaper than propane.
    I just got my natural gas bill and also filled my propane tank. Natural gas was .6420 per therm and the propane was $1.23 per gallon. This equates to the following:
    Natural Gas = $6.42 per 1,000,000 BTU
    Propane Gas = $13.46 per 1,000,000 BTU

    This prices Propane as double the cost of Natural Gas.
    There is a meter charge of $6.50 on natural and a small tank charge for the propane. It equals out.
    Sales tax is the same percentage on both.
    Also look at the Government Figures published on the Propane Gas Association website:

  21. A good rule of thumb is that heat from propane is roughly twice the cost as that of natural gas. But many rural communities simply don’t have the means of laying natural gas lines (like mine).

    A gallon of propane will put out the same heat a 27 kWhrs of electricity. So, if propane is $2.70 per gallon, electricity is cheaper only if you pay less than 10 cents per kWhr (not around these parts).

    That said, it is always a lot cheaper to heat only the parts of a house occupied (night bedrooms, day family room). This is most easily done with space heaters, even if a little inconvenient.

    1. My husband and I woke to a Propane truck pulling out of our driveway this wonder New Years Day morning. When letting out the family cat, we were met with an Arrow Gas billing handing from our door. The visit wasn’t expected or needed so imagine our shock when we read that the price of propane jumped from $3.75 (10/09) to $5.30 (1/1/10). We have no contract with this company since they took over when F&S went belly up but were wondering what the true price of propane is at this time.

      1. Hi , I am just looking into this because we are moving soon , found a website that has both the average sales cost and the average wholesale cost…. Big difference. Our cost is double the wholesale cost.
        SO , I am assuming that “co-ops” are area groups who store or Buy stored gas at a cheaper wholesale price…. if so do they bump it up or is this a way to get the wholesale price to the consumer… sort of a question answer….

  22. I appreciate all the conversion calculations between natural gas and propane but I haven’t seen this one: What is the cost difference, at any point in tim, between a BTU of natural gas and a BTU of propane?????

  23. I have to chime in because I am incredibly confused right now. This will be our second winter here in this house. We have propane and during the worst winter months last year, our bill topped out at $300. Now this month I get a $600 bill, saying our tanks were completely empty? Can someone explain to me how that happens, considering the house was at the 65°F we keep it at this morning? It’s either coincidence, a leak or fraud. Is there anyone out there who has experienced something similar or has the background to comment?

    1. Yes. My mom is getting ripped off. Propane co. “Amerigas” bills her $437.00 every month. Delivers sometimes twice a month “just to top it off”. We didnt ask them to top it off. Im hoping she can convert to natural gas

  24. We have a vacation home in Fenwick Island, DE, which was brand new construction, and we just made settlement in May. We live in an Association community, so no choice on whether we could have gotten gas or propane. We just received our 12/4 through 1/4 propane bill, which was $320.00!!!!! We don’t even live in the house!!! We keep the heat at 62 as recommended for our hardwood floors, and we put our hot water heater on “vacation mode.” How in blazes could we have a bill this high without using any of the other appliances (stove and dryer)?? I can’t even imagine what the people are paying who live there full time. Our full time residence is in NJ where we have had a brutal winter with 2 feet of snow a few weeks ago… heat is kept on 68, gas stove, gas dryer, gas fireplace, 9 people living in the house with hot showers every day, many loads of laundry, doors opening and closing all day long… and our gas bill was $166.00?? Sounds like something is just very wrong with this picture!

  25. Hi to all out here that are mad because of propane prices in crease im in the same boat as you all I filled up my 100.00 tank in oct at 2.69 a gallon and then again in jan 1 at this time the propane was 3.69 agallon I dont understan why the price went up so much in only 16 weeks I here others are paying much less in my same area from other gas companys im not sure if im getting the wrong end of the deal I understand prices go up and down but a whole dollar at one time in such a short time .

  26. Just wondering what your opinion of having my propane provider installing a meter on my tank… The Driver told me it is much better because they can monitor the tank and I would not have to worry about calling them to fill it up.. I really dont use much of it ,, just in the winter.. It is a 250 gallon tank and we use it for the central heat and the water heater only…I told them to do it but now my husband says well they are charging you an extra 4.95 per month for the service.. But on the other hand they said the gas would be at the reg rate and not the will call rate which is normally higher and that is what I am paying now… so that may even it out .. I dont know…Does anyone have a meter installed on their tank?? If so do you like having it that way verse just paying for just the amount when you order it?

  27. Reply to Dave W.

    Regarding the comment ” It’s either coincidence, a leak or fraud. Is there anyone out there who has experienced something similar or has the background to comment?”

    We wonder the same thing. We were also told that our tank was empty the first part of this month. We filled it. We checked it today. It has been seven days and we used 16 % which equates to 80 gallons. Ours is an older house, but for years we have only used 7 gallons a day, tops. We installed a new furnace two years ago. This past heating season, we have used about 1/2 times more than what we consider “normal.” I know it has been colder, but we have turned the heat down and use an electric blanket at night.

    We cannot explain this either. This even occurred when we were gone for a week and had the thermostat turned down. There are only two of us, so no one was going in and out or otherwise interfering with the thermostat. Can’t explain it.

  28. Simplify this for me please. So, if propane costs me $2.22/gallon, and natural gas costs me $.94/therm… I can do that math and come up with Natural gas being significantly cheaper… but, since propane burns hotter, don’t we have to look at something else to compare cost of fueling our homes? That is to ask, am I going to use much less propane to heat the same square footage than I would natural gas (thus offsetting some of the savings)?
    –SJ from Colorado

  29. I can tell you that despite the fact that NG doesn’t have the same BTU output per gallon that propane does, that it is definately more efficient when used in modern appliances. I run a crematory, I have machines that were built from 1976, all the way to 2009. My newest machine has 3 times the capacity per hour, and can burn at a max of 2.5 million BTU’s per hour. I can cremate an individual for $14.00 on 19 gallons of NG versus $45 for 19 Gallons of propane for the same sized individual. Natural gas IS cheaper.

  30. We just found a dream house close to the beach but have been so disappointed when we discovered the house has a huge propane tank in the back yard. Your blog provides some information we are looking for and we are thinking about bailing out this deal.

    Anyway, there are some discussion about the benefit of the infrared radiant heating from some of the responses. As I know, when you use the infrared heating devices, you don’t have the heat the air warm to feel the warmth. Infrared radiant is the one that does the trick. I was shock to see the CZ heater could cost up to 350 bucks. You don’t really need to spend that much for an infrared heater. Any cheap (20-30 buck) quartz radiant heater will give you the same benefit as the CZ infrared heater. Another benefit from the infrared radiant heater is that once it’s turned on, you feel the heat instantly. I’ve been using this kind of heater, only 5-10 minutes, every morning during the winter months to change my clothes for work…

  31. Even though propane can be refined from natural gas or crude, the price of propane follows the price of oil. The reason for this is that propane typically competes more with other crude-refined fuels than with natural gas. Natural gas prices are still pretty depressed, while the price of crude (and therefore propane) have been steadily rising. Currently, natural gas probably cost anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of what propane costs.

  32. My parents built a 3400 square foot lake home last year. Spared no expense on well-insulated window, walls, foundation, etc… We keep the thermostat set at 45 degrees when we aren’t using the place- and we are going through 50-75 gallons per week, depending on the temperature. This is Minnesota in December and it’s only going to get colder. Anyone who says that propane is less expensive that natural gas (at least in cold climates) is fooling themselves. They heat their main home (67 degrees), which is 3600 square feet and about 12 years old with natural gas and they have never had a gas bill over 300 dollars. They will spend a minimum of $350 to heat the lake home to 45 degrees. Doesn’t seem right to me. Propane costs at least double here in Minnesota, when compared to natural gas. The sad thing is the fact that there is a gas line about 300 yards away, but it would cost $15,000 to bring it down the road. Probably would have saved money in the long run.

    1. WOW my head is ready to explode. I’ve been considering going to natural gas when it becomes available as opposed to my present use of propane. You all seem to have somewhat valid comparisons and ideas.but there is no way to convince me that the use of 1500 watt heaters is a viable solution . 1500 watt is still 1500 watts. with the cost of electricity no way can u save. For the cost of gas being 1/2 of propane it would seem NG would be the logical . You must consider that propane is 25% more efficient reducing it’s cost by 1/4. Factoring in easement fee’s tap fees, meeter fee’s, it would seem as though NG would be best in my situation. As for Derek contact your ng supplier if they are that close you can get your neighbors together and negotiate a shared deal that is much less than $15,000. We had just 32 home’s and they are running lines 2 miles N and S and 4 miles E and W at a cost of $1500 plus a $9 a month meter fee that i can live with. Good luck remember they are receptive to making money. If we can only keep the gov. nose out of it.

  33. Propane absolutely is NOT cheaper than natural gas, at least not in Southern Ohio! I rented a very small house for my mother (4 rooms, 1 bath) and the cost for heating the house with propane for ONE MONTH was nearly $400.00 (from early December to early January.)
    My sister’s home across the street uses natural gas, her bill was just over $300.00 even though her home is older, less insulated and larger.
    My brother heats a home near hers with electricity, the home is double the size and the cost for the month was $300.00.

  34. WIfe and I just moved into a 4,100 sq/ft new home in Hunterdon county NJ this summer. Always had NG in the past (townhouse/condo) and we are now forced to use propane. Looking at $800 per month for the propane even though we close the doors on all rooms upstairs during the day and keep the heat at 62. At night we keep the downstairs at 62 (multi zone house) and still we are at $800!. Highest setting we use in a heated zone is 69.

    At this point I am considering adding radiant floor heating for the first floor in the rooms most often used. Hoping I can keep the heat at 65 during the day downstairs and use the RFH system to warm the rooms we mostly use to a comfortable level. Not sure if it makes sense to do this from a ROI sense. Other option is to install an insert in the fireplace and use wood heat to supplement our needs.

    Anyone try either of these approaches?

    1. BIll – I also have a 4000 sqft home in malvern PA. New house built 2 years ago. I got tired of the 800~1000.00 per month propane heating bills, and installed Geothermal Heat. The gov’t credits and lower electrical rates are giving me a ~8 year payback. My next adventure will be fuel cells to generate heat and electricity to power the GEO system. Possibly Wind. Just wish builders would start offering some of these great & financially viable options when the homes are being built!!

      To everyone who is “struggling” over the CZ infrared heaters… please wake up ans smell the self-serving informerical that has been spammed upon you. Don’t even give the writers the pleasure of a reply.

  35. Eric,

    What type of Geo thermal heating did you go with? We are looking into putting one in but if drilling is required then it would be expensive.

  36. Hi. Why can’t somebody just say what the basic difference is between propane and gas, and say like if it only cost 40 dollars for natural gas and 140 for propane to heat the same house?

    1. Hilo,

      The problem is that Natural Gas and Propane are measured differently. Propane is measured by volume and natural gas is measured by potential heating energy. The differences in measurement exist because of the various delivery methods (propane is loaded into a tank, while natural gas is piped in. Furthermore, natural gas varies in its makeup, making it difficult to give one standard conversion.

      My formulas that I wrote in the post are meant to give a rough estimate for comparison sake because I was frustrated with the same problem.

  37. I am currently renting a home with propane. The prevoius renter told me it was a fortune to heat in the winter. There is a natural gas line running across the front yard. The owner mentioned connecting. I am so confused about which is cheaper! I came from a home with electric heat and my bills ran around $275 to $350 for 2230 sq. ft. Mind you that included running everything and not heat alone. I now live in 1250 sq. ft. and they tell me $350 to heat it plus I will have an electric bill. So…will natural gas be cheaper? What to do?

  38. To the person with the Crematory. Does your Crematory have a set time (assuming along with min. temp) it has to burn either by yourself or by law? If so, have you considered the possibility that with the higher efficiency of Propane, that individual was done long before you removed them, and that maybe you could’ve cooked 2-1/2 to 3 in the same time period as one? Just a thinking out of the box. Happy Trails….

  39. At this time, Natural Gas is cheeper. Propane prices spiked recently. Dealer cost is $1.45 and your cost will range from $2.80 to $3.60 a gallon. propain gas is following oil prices on the retail side of the buisness. With my quauntiy discount on propane, my bill will increase $700 on a bulk buy of 1000 gallons in Sept 2011. Natural gas pricing has been flat for several years now.

  40. Ive just had a propain tank installed into my house and I use 1 3500 btu space heater and 1 2500 btu space heat to heat my house with propain. It cost me $50 a year for the tank and the propain here cost $2.39 a gallon. I have a 200 gallon tank and i had it filled in september. Im down to 50% and its the Begining of November. Not too bad. Last year i had natural gas and it ran about 200-300 a month depending on how cold it was outside.

  41. I live in central Minnesota. We installed a ground source heat pump, 8 years ago. Basically the heat pump draws energy out of the ground water, dumping the heat into the house, the water is dumped out onto the ground (we have a wetland behind the house). We have 10 acres. Propane is our backup system. In a typical year we spend about $1800 on electricty and $300 on propane. Propane is also used for cooking. The heat pump also provides hot water (we have an electric water heater) while we use it in the winter for heating, or in the summer for cooling.

  42. This is a comment for all the thick heads that keep going on about propane having more Btu’s, or burning hotter & therefore not being cheaper than natural gas.
    Natural gas is priced per therm. 1 therm =100,000Btu.
    Propane is priced per gallon. 1 gallon =.91 therm.

    Here in Oklahoma, including taxes & delivery charges, natural gas comes out to $0.87 per therm.
    Propane comes out to more than $1.91 per therm, considering that it costs $2.10 a gallon on PLUS tax.

    Last time I checked, a Btu is a Btu, regardless of the fuel source.
    If propane is $1.91 per 100,000 Btu
    natural gas is $0.87 per 100,000 Btu
    Natural gas is the clear winner.
    It doesn’t matter which fuel has more Btu per cu. foot. Per Btu, natural gas is quite a bit less expensive, something the original article explained how to figure out.

  43. Wes,

    It totally matters which fuel has more btu. A therm of
    NG gives you about 100,000 btu while a therm of propane will give you 250,000. You’re paying for how many btu you use. Also your math is a little off. If a gallon of propane is equal to .9
    therms you need to take the price x 1.1 to give you the cost of a therm of propane. In your case $2.10 x1.1 = $2.31. This actually helps your argument. I pay $2.00 for propane so a therm would be $2.20. NG is $.90 per therm but I need 2.5 therms to get the same 250,000 btu. $.90 x 2.5 = $2.25. Pretty damn close where I live. People just need to do the math to see what works out best for them. If you have really crazy propane prices then NG will probably be cheaper

  44. Dan,
    As Wes said, a therm is 100,000 BTUs no matter what the fuel is. That’s just the definition of a therm. (see

    Propane produces more BTUs per unit volume than NG, which is why propane is more popular in situations when the fuel needs to be bottled (as opposed to when a pipeline is the delivery mechanism, as is typical with NG)

  45. But what about Liquified Natural Gas? Yes, the piping to get NG to a home is expensive, but why can we not convert to LNG, new jetting of appliances is a small effort. My generator has a dual system so I can use either, just slide in the other jet. I cannot find any reference as to it taking a higher pressure tank, or greater difficulty in delivery. Any ideas why this would not be a good alternative since propane is now over $3 a gallon here in NC?

  46. LNG cannot be compressed very well. Kinda like the way water cannot be compressed. That is why NG (methane) is best used coming from small containers (tank in a automobile for example) or having your house applicances, running on NG, hooked directly to a NG supply line from the gas company.

  47. I just moved into a rental home in CA and ran out to meet the propane provider as he filled the tank. Since I own a home in Colorado that runs on propane for heat and hot water I know the price per gallon that I locked in at is $2.89/gal. This CA company told me $4.45/gal. I called the company and asked if they had any price lock programs and they told me no since the market price fluctuates, but that they can lower the price on the future fill to $3.01/gal. In my experience in both CA and CO, the companies will try to gouge you if they can. Everyone should call their companies and negotiate by asking for a pre-purchase rate (if you can afford it) or a lock in price. It also seems that if a new company takes over for your old one, they can conveniently forget to inform you that they have taken over, not honor or renew your price lock, and raise the price and fill your tank without telling you and hand you the bill. I have learned this through experience and now I try to stay in touch with my company and monitor my bills carefully. Don’t be afraid to call as winter sets in and check on the rates or try to negotiate. It can be done!

  48. Spent 2 years in Tucson Az with farmhouse and propane. who cares about therms and gals . the bottom line is duing the cool months of the winter my propane take was filled 3 times to keep 2500 sq. ft at 78 degrees. $$$ each fill between $495 to 750 dollars.That is energy for the year spent 2000 in Propane. Never AGAIN!!!!

  49. We are building a new home in a rural area starting in the Fall ’13. There is no natural gas lines, and we are not familiar with propane. From reading these post, it sounds EXPENSIVE to use propane! Our new home will be 3900sf. I’m considering Geotherm again as heat source. Can someone share their experience with GeoTherm and what I should consider.

  50. Had propane in my previous 3600 SF home. Furnace, cooktop and fireplace. Spent about 1200-1500 per heating season. (3-4 months) Now building a new house and have no choice but electric for everything. Can get propane backup for furnace, but not doing it. Still doing cooktop and fireplace with propane though. Electric is around .08 kwH here, so def cheaper this route. I’ve read that unless the price of propane per gallon is less than 27 (1 gallon propane = 27 kwH) times the price per kwH, you should stick with electric. Example: .08 x 27 = 2.16. Price per gallon of propane here is above 2.50, so electric is cheaper.

    Concerning post above geo will cost about 30k to install, so take that into consideration concerning how long you’ll be there.

  51. You need to calculate cost per BTU. From another site:

    ““Let’s assume the cost for natural gas is $15.00 per 1,000 cubic feet. This means that $15.00 will purchase approximately 1.03 million BTU’s of energy.

    This would be equivalent to 11.26 gallons of propane.

    At $2.50 per gallon of propane, natural gas would be a more cost effective energy solution.

    Breaking it down even further, natural gas needs to be more than $28.00 per 1,000 cubic feet for propane to be a more cost effective energy solution (provided the cost for propane is $2.50 per gallon.””

  52. Propane is not regulated, and therein lies the problem, natural gas is. So when you see the insane costs, here in Northern Michigan, 700-800 dollars a month for an average sized home, versus, 140-200 a month for natural gas, right down the road! We are getting ripped off!

  53. Normally Nat Gas is cheaper than propane, but currently propane is at $0.60 in NE Ohio. That makes it cheaper than nat gas, especially with the costs of nat gas mainline extension, service line, etc. We’ll switch to nat gas if propane goes up again. do not buy propane in the winter. Its pricing is cyclical (high demand in winter = highest pricing!) buy in summer for lowest price. maybe even get an extra tank.

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