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

Homeowners have a variety of home heating fuels to choose from. Natural gas is the most popular choice in Lehigh County, used by 2,698,438 or 51.75% of homes. The 2nd most popular choice for Lehigh County homeowners is electricity, used by 1,275,546 homes (24.46%). The remaining homes are heated with heating oil (786,449), propane (256,098), wood (122,435), and other fuels (139,486).

Lehigh County Primary Home Heating Fuel Popularity by Number of Households

FuelLehigh County Households % of Households
Natural Gas2.6M51.75%
Electricity1.2M24.46%
Heating Oil786,44915.08%
Propane256,0984.91%
Wood122,4352.35%
Coal51,5310.99%
Other Fuels50,5060.97%
No Fuel33,3560.64%
Solar4,0930.08%

Natural gas (51.75)

Electricity (24.46)

Heating oil (15.08)

Propane (4.91)

Wood (2.35)

Coal (0.99)

Other fuels (0.97)

No fuel (0.64)

Solar (0.08)

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

Heating oil has become less popular in Lehigh County. In the 4 years since 2018, the number of heating oil homes fell from 828,104 to 786,449, a 5.03% drop.

Lehigh County Heating Oil Households (2011 - 2022)

YearHeating Oil Households
20111.0M
20121.0M
2013963,754
2014930,735
2015899,276
2016864,952
2017843,020
2018828,104
2019814,213
2020811,086
2021790,823
2022786,449

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

Between 2018 and today, the number of homes using propane as the primary space heating fuel rose from 214,804 to 256,098.

Between 2018 and today, the number of homes using natural gas as the primary space heating fuel rose from 2,582,392 to 2,698,438.

Electricity use for home heating in Lehigh County

Electric space heating systems are becoming more popular in Lehigh County. Since 2018, the number of homes heating with electricity rose from 1,142,039 to 1,275,546, a 11.69% increase.

Solar use for home heating in Lehigh 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, 4,093 homes in Lehigh County are heated with active solar arrays. This is a 109.15% increase from 2018, when only 1,957 homes had installed active solar heating.

Lehigh County Heating Oil Trends

Last year, Lehigh County homeowners purchased a total of 22 million gallons of heating oil.

Short Term Trends

Lehigh 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 Lehigh County, the average outside temperature was 4.7° F warmer than the prior winter's average outside temperature.

Lehigh County Average Winter Temperature

Heating SeasonAverage Temperature
Winter 2022 - 202341.3° F
Winter 2021 - 202236.6° F

Lehigh County Homeowner’s Guide to Selecting an Oil Company

For Lehigh County homeowners heating with oil, selecting which of the 93 heating oil companies that serve Lehigh 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 118 “full-service” oil companies that serve Lehigh County. Full service companies such as Wisser Coal & Fuel Oil or DeSousa Oil & Service Corp 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 Lehigh 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 Lehigh County include Jeffs HVAC and Liberty Oil & Propane.

Lehigh County Heating Oil Company Fast Facts

Heating Oil Companies Serving Lehigh County: 93 companies

Average Number Of Lehigh County Homes Served Per Company: 371 homes

Average Gallons Delivered per Lehigh County Oil Company: 239,499 gallons per year

Lehigh County Heating Oil Delivery Overview

34,517 households in Lehigh County heat their homes with fuel oil. This makes oil delivery essential when Lehigh County thermometers drop as low as 42.5° F each winter.

18% of Lehigh County Households Rely On Heating Oil Delivery Each Winter

Lehigh County HouseholdsLehigh County Heating Oil Households
183,63434,517

1,379 Lehigh County Oil Companies Go the Distance

With 22 million gallons of heating oil delivered to Lehigh County homeowners during the winter of 2023, the Lehigh County community relies on its 1,379 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 Lehigh County, two of the closest terminals are Spmt in Fullerton, PA and Lucknow in Fullerton, PA. Then, the truck delivers the #2 heating oil to homes and businesses in Lehigh County.

More Lehigh County HVAC Resources