JLC Extra Q&A
Construction Tips & Techniques
Which home heating fuel is
usually cheaper, oil or propane?
responds: The short answer is that oil is almost always
cheaper. Simply comparing the per-gallon prices of the two
fuels does not provide a fair comparison, since a gallon of
propane has a much lower thermal value (91,600 Btus per gallon)
than oil (139,000 Btus per gallon). Remember that a fair
comparison must take into account the heating efficiency (AFUE)
of the furnaces or boilers being compared; these may be
different, depending on the equipment you are considering.
Finally, prices vary regionally. The following table shows how
cheap propane must be in order to match the price of oil,
assuming heating equipment of the same efficiency.
is editor ofEnergy Design
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If oil costs this much
Then the price per gallon
of propane would need to
be lower than this to be a
better value than oil