The law of supply and demand can greatly affect the prices of petroleum products used in home heating systems. In some cases this can result in huge increases in monthly heating bills. There are choices available that allow homeowners to have some control over these costs. These include home heating oil and natural and propane gas.
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Cost of Heating With Natural Gas vs. Oil
A comparison of prices for natural gas, propane gas and No. 2 heating oil reveals that from 2000 to 2007 natural gas was the least expensive of the three, with No. 2 heating oil consistently in second place during the same time period. These prices are from the Federal Register published in March 2007 and reflect the price of each fuel as measured in cost per million BTUs, or British Thermal Units. Propane was the most expensive home heating fuel.
Cost of Heating With Natural Gas
At the cost of £3.20 per one million BTUs compared to approximately £7 per one million BTUs for oil, natural gas is less than half the price of oil. According to industry officials, even natural gas that is extracted from shale--rock formations that are less permeable and porous than sand reservoirs--is still more economical than oil at only about 40 per cent the cost of oil.
Cost of Heating With Oil
According to Energy Experts, a comparison of the costs to operate an oil heating system using a forced-air furnace and a natural gas heating system with a forced-air furnace, assuming that each has identical heating and distribution efficiency rates, indicates that a homeowner would save approximately £200 over the course of a year by switching from oil to natural gas.
Cost of Heating With Propane
A comparison between an oil heating system that uses a forced-air furnace and a propane heating system with a forced-air furnace reveals that the propane system would be significantly more expensive on an annual basis. The comparison by Energy Experts calculates that the propane system would cost more than £455 per year above the cost of an oil system.
Natural gas is delivered via underground pipes, essentially making availability immune to inclement weather. Natural gas is cleaner than oil, producing only water vapour and carbon dioxide as by-products. Gas can be used for ovens, clothes dryers, furnaces and water heaters. The United States has an abundance of natural gas reserves--enough for more than 100 years.
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