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Propane vs. Natural Gas vs. Heating Oil: Western Mass Home Heating Fuel Comparison

Homeowners have a variety of home heating fuels to choose from. Natural gas is the most popular choice in Western Mass, used by 139,953 or 42.95% of homes. The 2nd most popular choice for Western Mass homeowners is heating oil, used by 89,972 homes (27.61%). The remaining homes are heated with electricity (60,517), propane (20,876), wood (10,056), and other fuels (8,359).

Western Mass Primary Home Heating Fuel Popularity by Number of Households

FuelWestern Mass Households % of Households
Natural Gas139,95342.95%
Heating Oil89,97227.61%
Electricity60,51718.57%
Propane20,8766.41%
Wood10,0563.09%
Other Fuels4,2681.31%
No Fuel2,6440.81%
Solar1,0180.31%
Coal4290.13%

Natural gas (42.95)

Heating oil (27.61)

Electricity (18.57)

Propane (6.41)

Wood (3.09)

Other fuels (1.31)

No fuel (0.81)

Solar (0.31)

Coal (0.13)

#2 Heating Oil (Fuel Oil) Use in Western Mass

Heating oil has become less popular in Western Mass. In the 6 years since 2016, the number of heating oil homes fell from 95,146 to 89,972, a 5.44% drop.

Western Mass Heating Oil Households (2011 - 2022)

YearHeating Oil Households
2011119,414
2012114,844
2013109,650
2014103,588
201599,298
201695,146
201792,656
201891,019
201991,976
202090,951
202190,030
202289,972

Propane vs. Natural Gas use for home heating in Western Mass

Between 2016 and today, the number of homes using propane as the primary space heating fuel rose from 14,402 to 20,876.

Between 2016 and today, the number of homes using natural gas as the primary space heating fuel rose from 129,653 to 139,953.

Electricity use for home heating in Western Mass

Electric space heating systems are becoming more popular in Western Mass. Since 2016, the number of homes heating with electricity rose from 51,874 to 60,517, a 16.66% increase.

Solar use for home heating in Western Mass

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, 1,018 homes in Western Mass are heated with active solar arrays. This is a 384.76% increase from 2016, when only 210 homes had installed active solar heating.