Propane vs. Natural Gas: Should You Switch in 2014?

January 2nd, 2014

We’re well into the “prime time” heating season here in the North East. Historically, January is the coldest month of the year in such major cities as Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania—temperatures typically hover in the low 20s—and that doesn’t include this year’s polar vortex which dropped temperatures near zero in our hometown of Wyomissing.

With these frigid temperatures, it’s very important your home is properly heated over the course of the next several months in 2014. Two home heating options you may consider include natural gas and propane. More Pennsylvanians are turning toward natural gas instead of propane to save money and have access to a safer heating fuel. Here, UGI EnergyLink explains the benefits and cost comparison of natural gas vs. propane for heating your home.

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Natural Gas Is More Affordable Compared to Propane

In order to understand why propane is more expensive than natural gas, it’s important for you to understand what propane is. It’s a liquefied petroleum gas that heats less than five percent of U.S. homes. Many Pennsylvanians continue to rely on propane heating since they believe there isn’t much of a cost difference between natural gas and propane—this just isn’t the case.

Forecasted Cost of Propane Heat in 2014

Propane is processed from natural gas, and this processing factor contributes to the higher cost of propane compared to natural gas. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that the average cost of heating a home with propane this heating season is $1,666. In fact, in the Northeast, homeowners can expect to spend an extra $206 this winter when heating with propane. Average prices are eight percent higher than in 2013.

Forecasted Cost of Natural Gas Heat in 2014

So is it worth switching from propane to natural gas this year? Homes that use natural gas heating, on the other hand, can expect to pay around $679 to total out the 2014 this season, according to the EIA—about $1,000 less than homes that rely on propane. Natural gas expected gas prices are lower than the averages from the previous five years.

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Natural Gas Prices Are More Predictable

It’s important to note that propane prices often spike unexpectedly and disproportionately compared to normal supply/demand fluctuations—this is largely because of the logistical difficulty involved with obtaining resupply during the peak heating season (now!).

Pennsylvania is located above the Marcellus Shale, which has had a record breaking production of natural gas. There is expected to be enough natural gas produced to meet the demands this heating season (keeping costs lower and from spiking).

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Natural Gas Is Safer Compared to Propane

Natural gas is much lighter compared to propane and rapidly dissipates into the air when released. Since propane is actually heavier than air, it does not tend to vent safely when it leaks.

Switch to UGI EnergyLink’s Natural Gas Services

Natural gas is an advantageous home heating option compared to propane. Not only can you save money by selecting natural gas over propane, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing you’ve chosen an overall safer heating fuel (did we mention that natural gas is also the cleanest burning fuel choice?).

Remember how we said that propane prices are known to spike unexpectedly and disproportionately? Well, since we instead offer natural gas, UGI EnergyLink can take advantage of market opportunities unavailable to tightly regulated utility companies. What does this mean for you? It means you have the option to lock in a fixed rate on natural gas, which safeguards you from unexpected natural gas price increases. If you prefer more flexibility, we offer a variable rate pricing plan as well.

All you have to do is fill out our simple enrollment form— with some basic information, you have us (and our 127 years of convenient, customer-friendly pricing) on your side.