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Propane vs. Natural Gas vs. Heating Oil: Rhode Island Home Heating Fuel Comparison

Homeowners have a variety of home heating fuels to choose from. Natural gas is the most popular choice in Rhode Island, used by 238,730 or 54.33% of homes. The 2nd most popular choice for Rhode Island homeowners is heating oil, used by 123,513 homes (28.11%). The remaining homes are heated with electricity (48,608), propane (20,290), wood (6,261), and other fuels (5,741).

Rhode Island Primary Home Heating Fuel Popularity by Number of Households

FuelRhode Island Households % of Households
Natural Gas238,73054.33%
Heating Oil123,51328.11%
Electricity48,60811.06%
Propane20,2904.62%
Wood6,2611.42%
Other Fuels2,9060.66%
No Fuel2,2740.52%
Solar3680.08%
Coal1930.04%

Natural gas (54.33)

Heating oil (28.11)

Electricity (11.06)

Propane (4.62)

Wood (1.42)

Other fuels (0.66)

No fuel (0.52)

Solar (0.08)

Coal (0.04)

#2 Heating Oil (Fuel Oil) Use in Rhode Island

Heating oil has become more popular in Rhode Island. In the 2 years since 2020, the number of heating oil homes rose from 120,814 to 123,513, a 2.23% lift.

Rhode Island Heating Oil Households (2011 - 2022)

YearHeating Oil Households
2011157,027
2012153,138
2013147,428
2014142,250
2015137,072
2016131,665
2017128,463
2018125,105
2019122,253
2020120,814
2021122,016
2022123,513

Propane vs. Natural Gas use for home heating in Rhode Island

Between 2020 and today, the number of homes using propane as the primary space heating fuel rose from 14,932 to 20,290.

Between 2020 and today, the number of homes using natural gas as the primary space heating fuel rose from 223,733 to 238,730.

Electricity use for home heating in Rhode Island

Electric space heating systems are becoming more popular in Rhode Island. Since 2020, the number of homes heating with electricity rose from 43,940 to 48,608, a 10.62% increase.

Solar use for home heating in Rhode Island

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, 368 homes in Rhode Island are heated with active solar arrays. This is a 50.82% increase from 2020, when only 244 homes had installed active solar heating.