Home Heating Costs: Oil Vs. Propane

Written by g.d. palmer
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Home Heating Costs: Oil Vs. Propane
Propane or oil storage tank costs can add to the cost of either fuel. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Oil and propane are both popular heating fuels. They provide reliable heat without the fuss of a wood stove and are more economical than heating with electricity.

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According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential heating oil cost between £2.0 and £2.10 per gallon in late 2010. One gallon of fuel oil provides between 115,000 and 124,000 Btu (British thermal units). The U.S. Forest Service estimates an average use of about 1 million Btu per heating season.


The U.S. EIA lists propane costs for late 2010 at between £1.60 and £1.70 per gallon. However, a gallon of propane provides less heating power than a gallon of fuel oil: about 91,000 Btu.


Prices for both fuel oil and propane can vary significantly depending on where you live and the season. Other factors can also affect your overall heating cost with either fuel, including tank purchase or rental costs and maintenance expenses.

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