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

Homeowners have a variety of home heating fuels to choose from. Natural gas is the most popular choice in Providence County, used by 238,742 or 54.26% of homes. The 2nd most popular choice for Providence County homeowners is heating oil, used by 123,813 homes (28.14%). The remaining homes are heated with electricity (48,633), propane (20,429), wood (6,316), and other fuels (5,741).

Providence County Primary Home Heating Fuel Popularity by Number of Households

FuelProvidence County Households % of Households
Natural Gas238,74254.26%
Heating Oil123,81328.14%
Electricity48,63311.05%
Propane20,4294.64%
Wood6,3161.44%
Other Fuels2,9060.66%
No Fuel2,2740.52%
Solar3680.08%
Coal1930.04%

Natural gas (54.26)

Heating oil (28.14)

Electricity (11.05)

Propane (4.64)

Wood (1.44)

Other fuels (0.66)

No fuel (0.52)

Solar (0.08)

Coal (0.04)

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

Heating oil has become less popular in Providence County. In the 11 years since 2011, the number of heating oil homes fell from 157,426 to 123,813, a 21.35% drop.

Providence County Heating Oil Households (2011 - 2022)

YearHeating Oil Households
2011157,426
2012153,479
2013147,768
2014142,612
2015137,451
2016132,040
2017128,844
2018125,460
2019122,583
2020121,062
2021122,289
2022123,813

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

Between 2011 and today, the number of homes using propane as the primary space heating fuel rose from 8,191 to 20,429.

Between 2011 and today, the number of homes using natural gas as the primary space heating fuel rose from 202,626 to 238,742.

Electricity use for home heating in Providence County

Electric space heating systems are becoming more popular in Providence County. Since 2011, the number of homes heating with electricity rose from 34,097 to 48,633, a 42.63% increase.

Solar use for home heating in Providence 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, 368 homes in Providence County are heated with active solar arrays. This is a 493.55% increase from 2011, when only 62 homes had installed active solar heating.

Providence County Heating Oil Trends

Last year, Providence County homeowners purchased a total of 42 million gallons of heating oil.

Short Term Trends

Providence 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 Providence County, the average outside temperature was 7.2° F warmer than the prior winter's average outside temperature.

Providence County Average Winter Temperature

Heating SeasonAverage Temperature
Winter 2022 - 202344.8° F
Winter 2021 - 202237.6° F

Providence County Homeowner’s Guide to Selecting an Oil Company

For Providence County homeowners heating with oil, selecting which of the 94 heating oil companies that serve Providence 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 281 “full-service” oil companies that serve Providence County. Full service companies such as Micheletti Oil Services or Reichert & Sons Fuel Oil 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 Providence 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 Providence County include Anthony's Oil LLC and Atlantis Comfort Systems Corp.

Providence County Heating Oil Company Fast Facts

Heating Oil Companies Serving Providence County: 94 companies

Average Number Of Providence County Homes Served Per Company: 600 homes

Average Gallons Delivered per Providence County Oil Company: 445,818 gallons per year

Providence County Heating Oil Delivery Overview

56,465 households in Providence County heat their homes with fuel oil. This makes oil delivery essential when Providence County thermometers drop as low as 42.5° F each winter.

21% of Providence County Households Rely On Heating Oil Delivery Each Winter

Providence County HouseholdsProvidence County Heating Oil Households
259,48356,465

2,276 Providence County Oil Companies Go the Distance

With 42 million gallons of heating oil delivered to Providence County homeowners during the winter of 2023, the Providence County community relies on its 2,276 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 Providence County, two of the closest terminals are Sprague in Providence, RI and Shell in Providence, RI. Then, the truck delivers the #2 heating oil to homes and businesses in Providence County.

More Providence County HVAC Resources