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Propane vs. Natural Gas vs. Heating Oil: Orange County Home Heating Fuel Comparison

Homeowners have a variety of home heating fuels to choose from. Natural gas is the most popular choice in Orange County, used by 4,593,346 or 59.99% of homes. The 2nd most popular choice for Orange County homeowners is heating oil, used by 1,379,410 homes (18.02%). The remaining homes are heated with electricity (1,040,155), propane (371,184), no fuel (127,077), and other fuels (245,918).

Orange County Primary Home Heating Fuel Popularity by Number of Households

FuelOrange County Households % of Households
Natural Gas4.5M59.99%
Heating Oil1.3M18.02%
Electricity1.0M13.59%
Propane371,1844.85%
No Fuel127,0771.66%
Wood117,3241.53%
Other Fuels102,6441.34%
Coal17,4880.23%
Solar8,4620.11%

Natural gas (59.99)

Heating oil (18.02)

Electricity (13.59)

Propane (4.85)

No fuel (1.66)

Wood (1.53)

Other fuels (1.34)

Coal (0.23)

Solar (0.11)

#2 Heating Oil (Fuel Oil) Use in Orange County

Heating oil has become less popular in Orange County. In the 2 years since 2020, the number of heating oil homes fell from 1,451,030 to 1,379,410, a 4.94% drop.

Orange County Heating Oil Households (2011 - 2022)

YearHeating Oil Households
20112.1M
20122.0M
20131.9M
20141.9M
20151.8M
20161.7M
20171.6M
20181.5M
20191.5M
20201.4M
20211.4M
20221.3M

Propane vs. Natural Gas use for home heating in Orange County

Between 2020 and today, the number of homes using propane as the primary space heating fuel rose from 316,900 to 371,184.

Between 2020 and today, the number of homes using natural gas as the primary space heating fuel rose from 4,403,117 to 4,593,346.

Electricity use for home heating in Orange County

Electric space heating systems are becoming more popular in Orange County. Since 2020, the number of homes heating with electricity rose from 925,349 to 1,040,155, a 12.41% increase.

Solar use for home heating in Orange County

Solar is the most environmentally friendly of all space heating fuels. With an “active” solar heating system, liquid is circulated between solar panels on a home’s roof and a heat energy storage tank in the basement.

Currently, 8,462 homes in Orange County are heated with active solar arrays. This is a 15.11% increase from 2020, when only 7,351 homes had installed active solar heating.

Orange County Heating Oil Trends

Last year, Orange County homeowners purchased a total of 18 million gallons of heating oil.

Short Term Trends

Orange County’s overall heating oil use varies from year to year, primarily depending on how cold each winter is. As the temperature outside gets colder, homes’ heating systems need to burn more and more oil to keep homes warm. Last winter in Orange County, the average outside temperature was 5.7° F warmer than the prior winter's average outside temperature.

Orange County Average Winter Temperature

Heating SeasonAverage Temperature
Winter 2022 - 202346.5° F
Winter 2021 - 202240.8° F

Orange County Homeowner’s Guide to Selecting an Oil Company

For Orange County homeowners heating with oil, selecting which of the 153 heating oil companies that serve Orange County is an important decision.

Full Service Oil Companies: Homeowners willing to pay a premium for a “set-it-and-forget-it” heating system choose one of the 604 “full-service” oil companies that serve Orange County. Full service companies such as Evergreen Fuels Inc or H Reynolds & Son Inc offer automatic fuel delivery and furnace repair under a single roof.

Discount Oil Companies: Also known by the names “COD Fuel Companies” or “Cash Heating Oil Companies”, these companies are for the budget-conscious Orange County homeowner. In return for better prices, you monitor the oil level in your tank and place an order when you run low on oil. Examples of cash heating oil companies that serve Orange County include Talon Heating & Cooling LLC and Sigma Tremblay Heating & Air Conditioning.

Orange County Heating Oil Company Fast Facts

Heating Oil Companies Serving Orange County: 153 companies

Average Number Of Orange County Homes Served Per Company: 241 homes

Average Gallons Delivered per Orange County Oil Company: 116,168 gallons per year

Orange County Heating Oil Delivery Overview

36,882 households in Orange County heat their homes with fuel oil. This makes oil delivery essential when Orange County thermometers drop as low as 42.5° F each winter.

27% of Orange County Households Rely On Heating Oil Delivery Each Winter

Orange County HouseholdsOrange County Heating Oil Households
132,07736,882

2,637 Orange County Oil Companies Go the Distance

With 18 million gallons of heating oil delivered to Orange County homeowners during the winter of 2023, the Orange County community relies on its 2,637 oil companies to keep warm.

Oil delivery is a two step process: First, an oil truck picks up oil at the nearest bulk fuel terminal. In the case of Orange County, two of the closest terminals are Global S in Newburgh, NY and Globalcar in Newburgh, NY. Then, the truck delivers the #2 heating oil to homes and businesses in Orange County.

More Orange County HVAC Resources