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Propane vs. Natural Gas vs. Heating Oil: Virginia Home Heating Fuel Comparison

Homeowners have a variety of home heating fuels to choose from. Electricity is the most popular choice in Virginia, used by 729,818 or 56.56% of homes. The 2nd most popular choice for Virginia homeowners is natural gas, used by 482,135 homes (37.37%). The remaining homes are heated with heating oil (32,375), propane (30,950), no fuel (11,716), and other fuels (13,236).

Virginia Primary Home Heating Fuel Popularity by Number of Households

FuelVirginia Households % of Households
Electricity729,81856.56%
Natural Gas482,13537.37%
Heating Oil32,3752.51%
Propane30,9502.40%
No Fuel11,7160.91%
Wood7,9950.62%
Other Fuels3,8870.30%
Solar8830.07%
Coal4710.04%

Electricity (56.56)

Natural gas (37.37)

Heating oil (2.51)

Propane (2.40)

No fuel (0.91)

Wood (0.62)

Other fuels (0.30)

Solar (0.07)

Coal (0.04)

#2 Heating Oil (Fuel Oil) Use in Virginia

Heating oil has become less popular in Virginia. In the 3 years since 2019, the number of heating oil homes fell from 37,096 to 32,375, a 12.73% drop.

Virginia Heating Oil Households (2011 - 2022)

YearHeating Oil Households
201165,440
201260,145
201354,943
201450,866
201547,395
201643,436
201741,574
201839,490
201937,096
202035,272
202133,331
202232,375

Propane vs. Natural Gas use for home heating in Virginia

Between 2019 and today, the number of homes using propane as the primary space heating fuel rose from 25,254 to 30,950.

Between 2019 and today, the number of homes using natural gas as the primary space heating fuel rose from 450,792 to 482,135.

Electricity use for home heating in Virginia

Electric space heating systems are becoming more popular in Virginia. Since 2019, the number of homes heating with electricity rose from 651,786 to 729,818, a 11.97% increase.

Solar use for home heating in Virginia

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, 883 homes in Virginia are heated with active solar arrays. This is a 274.15% increase from 2019, when only 236 homes had installed active solar heating.